Hypertension

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Overview of Hypertension

Hypertension is characterized by abnormally high blood pressure. Blood pressure is simply defined as the force which the flowing blood exerts against the walls of blood vessels. Hypertension is considered as a state of physiological and psychological stress. Hundreds of thousands of people all around the world’s duffer from hypertension. If left untreated, high blood pressures can cause serious health damage and even death. High blood pressure is primarily caused by stiffness or loss of flexibility of arteries. The heart pumps the blood with a specific force into the arteries, and the blood vessels develop certain resistance to the flow. If the cardiac output is high due to any reason and arteries have become thickened and less flexible, the force which the blood exerts against the walls and resistance of arteries, increases. This lead to increased blood pressure.  The higher the resistance, the more the blood pressure. It has been estimated that around 75 million people in USA suffer from hypertension. Hypertension is the leading cause of various cardiovascular problems and large number of people die of hypertension-related heart problems each year. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Normal or ideal blood pressure is considered to fall in range of 110-115 to 70-75 mmHg. Blood pressure more than 140/90 mmHg is considered as high blood pressure.

Causes and Risk Factors of Hypertension

Hypertension is of two types. It can be a transient state of elevated blood pressure due to various factors. These include intense physical exertion, exercise, stress, fight or fight situation, excitement or during pregnancy. This type of high blood pressure is considered as a normal physiological response of the body to various situations. These kind of normal fluctuations occur throughout the day, as blood pressure becomes lowered when we sleep and rises upon awakening. Age is a major contributor in blood pressure. The arteries become narrower and stiffer with age and lead to increase in blood pressure. People above 50 years of age are extremely likely to develop hypertension and hypertension related cardiovascular diseases. There are certain risk factors that increases the chances of suffering from hypertension, they include smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, consumption of junk and fatty foods, salt rich diet, stress and poor living conditions. Obesity and high cholesterol levels are also considered as a major risk factor of hypertension.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypertension

Hypertension is considered as a silent killer. The symptoms do not appear until severe damage to body has been done. Symptoms of hypertension include headaches, nosebleed, disorientation, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, blood in urine, vision problems, fatigue, pain in chest, facial flushing and pounding in ears and chest. If blood pressure remains high for long time period, the blood vessels become weak and susceptible to damage and bursting. This situation can lead to hemorrhage and paralysis.