High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. It is abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries, which are the blood vessels that carries blood from the heart to the whole body.
In about 95 percent of cases, the cause of hypertension is unknown and affects many individuals who do not know they have the condition. These cases are classified as essential hypertension. However, high blood pressure is the main risk factor for heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and eye problems. When blood pressure level is increased, the heart and arteries have to work harder than normal to pump blood through the body. Thus, overload may lead to thickens the muscles of the heart and arteries or damages artery walls.
As a result, damage to the heart caused by the extra work and a lack of oxygen causes heart disease. When blood pressure is high, the artery and blood vessel walls may be damaged over time. This leads to dangerous complications and life-threatening.
Besides, many factors such as genes, kidney disease, some medications, and lifestyle can affect blood pressure. Lifestyle factors play a key role in balancing our blood pressure.
However, there are some known key factors that increase your risk:
Age is one of the factors that contribute to high blood pressure. Our arteries are stiffening with age. Sixty percent of people above 60 years of age likely to have high blood pressure.
Usually, after puberty, females have a lower blood pressure than males of the same age.
These differences are thought to be caused by hormonal variation. Women in general after menopause have a high blood pressure than in the past.
Hypertension tends to occur in families. You are at higher risk of having high blood pressure if you have a close relative. In some families, genetics are strong for both parents who have high blood pressure. However, the inheritance pattern is unknown.
Researchers have concluded that there is a strong link between binge drinking alcohol and high blood pressure. Regular heavy or binge drinking can also cause significant increases in blood pressure, sometimes extreme enough to cause a stroke. However, alcohol may also have an impact on the efficacy of blood pressure-lowering drugs.
Whether you smoke or people close to you do, the effects can be damage to the heart. Your heart will not work properly as before. Moreover, smoking causes your blood vessels to shrink which making your heart work even harder.
Salt, or sodium chloride, has been used to flavor and preserve foods for thousands of years and is also found in a wide variety of foods.
When sodium increases in our blood, the blood vessels will retain water and try to balance the sodium concentration. As a result, this extra water increases the volume of blood in vessels that cause high blood pressure.
Taking too much salt can cause high blood pressure. The maximum recommended intake of salt is less than 6 grams per day.
Figure 1. Tips to improve blood pressure.
Figure 2. Steps to measuring blood pressure
In summary, hypertension is one of the main risk factors for the development of heart disease and stroke. Our blood pressure is influenced by several factors. So, we need to stop smoking, stay active, eat balance diet and limit the intakes of salt and alcohol to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Raihan Ridzuan, Bachelor of Science (Hons) Pharmacology, is staff officer of Mayflax, one of the nation’s leading healthcare and marketing company.