Hypertension

When the heart beats, pressure is created which pushes the blood through the blood vessels. Blood pressure is formed as the blood pumps out of the heart into the arteries (Systolic-top number) and as the heart rests in between heart beats (Diastolic-bottom number).

According to MayoClinic.org, hypertension is a condition in which the force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.

Risk Factors

ID-10069220Age-Common for men to develop hypertension in their mid 40s. Women are more likely to develop hypertension after age 65.

Race-Common among blacks, often develops at an earlier age than whites. Serious complications are more common in blacks.

Family History-Often runs in families.

Overweight/Obesity-Higher weight causes higher blood volume. The higher volume causes increased pressure on the artery walls.

Lack of Physical Activity-Inactivity causes higher heart rates. The higher the heart rate, the harder the heart has to work with each contraction which, in turn, causes more force on the arteries.

Using Tobacco-Smoking and chewing tobacco raise blood pressure immediately temporarily. Chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of the artery walls. This can cause the arteries to narrow, increasing the blood pressure. Secondhand smoke can also increase your blood pressure.

Too Much Salt-Too much sodium causes the body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.

Too Little Potassium-Potassium helps to balance the amount of sodium in the cells.

Drinking Too Much Alcohol-Heavy drinking can damage your heart. Having more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women may affect blood pressure.

Complications

Uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to:

  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Heart Failure
  • Weakened/Narrowed Blood Vessels in the Kidneys
  • Thickened/Narrowed/Torn Blood Vessels in the Eyes
  • Metabolic Syndrome

 Treatment

  • Lose Weight
  • Increase Physical Activity
  • Stop Smoking
  • Limit Alcohol
  • Limit Sodium
  • Consider Following the DASH Diet

 

References

“High Blood Pressure (hypertension).” – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 26 Sept. 2014. Web. 11 June 2015.

“High Blood Pressure Facts, Causes, Tests, Risk Factors, and More Basics.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 11 June 2015.

“What Is High Blood Pressure?” What Is High Blood Pressure? American Heart Association, 4 Sept. 2014. Web. 12 June 2015.

“High Blood Pressure (hypertension).” Risk Factors. Mayo Clinic, 6 Sept. 2014. Web. 12 June 2015.

“High Blood Pressure (hypertension).” Complications. Mayo Clinic, 6 Sept. 2014. Web. 12 June 2015.

“High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Treatments: Medications, Lifestyle Changes, and More.” Treating High Blood Pressure with Lifestyle Changes. WebMD, n.d. Web. 12 June 2015.

 

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