High blood pressure is the most common cardiovascular disease around the world. By blood pressure we mean the force of the blood inside the arteries. Like water in a hose, or air in a car tire, arteries can only accommodate a certain amount of blood and to a certain pressure. And just as too much air in a car tire can damage it, too much blood in an artery can damage it and cause strokes or cardiac diseases.
High blood pressure might not cause any apparent symptoms for a long time. But the damage caused by high blood pressure on arteries and the heart are there and are accumulating with time, and increases the risk for stroke and heart attacks.
Generally speaking, high blood pressure develops over a long time and affects most people with age. And most of those affected are not suffering any apparent effect from the disease although it rises to dangerous levels.
Some people affected by high blood pressure may complain from frequent headaches or difficulty breathing, or nose bleeds. But all of these symptoms are not specific to high blood pressure, and only take place when the blood pressure reaches a certain level.
That’s why, following up with frequent blood pressure readings, at least once a year past the age of 18, whether through a doctor or in a pharmacy.
Causes of high BP?
There are two types of blood pressure.
- Essential hypertension
this is the most common type, which develops gradually over a long time.
- And secondary hypertension.
Some people get high blood pressure in response to another current disease and in this case, it is a sudden rise in blood pleasure, to levels higher than in the essential hypertension. Causes behind secondary hypertension are numerous and include:
- Disrupted breathing during sleep (apnea), and snoring.
- Supra-adrenal dysfunction.
- Thyroid dysfunction.
- Some genetic blood diseases.
- Some medications as contraceptive pills, cold medicine, nasal decongestants, and some analgesics.
- Illegal drugs and contraband
- Alcohol and alcoholism.
What are the reasons behind high BP?
It has many reasons, including:
- Age: with increasing age, chances of high bp increase, especially after 45 years old in men, and 65 years old in women.
- It is much more common in dark skinned people.
- Genetics: as it could be a hereditary problem.
- Sedentary life style: because in activity causes tachycardia, and thus the heart pumps blood faster, as that sedentary lifestyle also cause obesity.
- Smoking with all of its types and kinds, as it cause instant rise in blood pressure and atherosclerosis and high blood pressure over the long term.
- Increased table salt intake as it causes water retention and increased blood pressure.
- Drinking alcohol.
- Some chronic diseases such as kidney dysfunction to diabetes or sleep apnea.
And in some cases, it may be caused by pregnancy.
What are the complications of high bp?
High blood pressure affects the arterial walls and the body organs, and the longer it stays high, the more the complications will be and more dangerous.
High blood pressure may cause:
- Strokes and heart attacks due to atherosclerosis.
- Vascular dilatation due to high blood pressure, which may rupture and cause internal bleeding.
- Heart failure, as due to the increased efforts continuously, the heart increases in size which later weakens and fails.
- Weakness and stenosis of kidney vessels.
- Weakness and stenosis of eye vessels.
- Weak memory and affection of brain functions.
How to avoid it?
You can avoid high blood pressure through changes in your daily routine, like quitting smoking and decrease use of table salt, eating healthy, and exercising daily in addition to monitoring your blood pressure.
So as to treating it. High blood pressure treatment also needs changes in lifestyle, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, eating healthy, in addition to medications.