Also known as the “Silent Killer”, high blood pressure has no early warning signs or symptoms. As a primary contributor to stroke, heart disease and subsequently one of the leading causes of death, it is estimated that globally around 26% of the world’s population have hypertension. The grim statistics rings a bell of caution for this figure is expected to rise to 29% by the year 2025.
What is Hypertension/High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force at which the blood gets pumped from the heart into the arteries. When the blood pressure shoots up, the blood is pushed around the arteries with increased force, exerting pressure on the delicate tissues in the arteries and thus damaging the blood vessels.
A normal blood pressure would read as less than 120/80 mm Hg whereas a consistent reading of over 140/90 mm Hg or higher over a period of time is diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure. The measurement of an individual’s blood pressure is recorded as two different numbers. The first number is the Systolic number which represents the pressure in blood vessels when the heartbeats. The second is called as the Diastolic which represents the pressure in the vessels when the heart rests between beats. So these two numbers reflect the different aspects of the pressure that is being applied by the blood as it pulses through the arteries.
Causes That Lead To High BP:
There may not be a single cause for high blood pressure, the exact cause is not known yet. But there are some factors that contribute to the chances of having hypertension like:
- Prevailing health conditions
- Processed and fatty foods
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- A high intake of salt
- Highly stressful life
- Family history of high blood pressure
Being a silent condition, high BP symptoms may not be obvious at an early stage. At times, it may take up years to become severe for the symptoms start showing up. Also, waiting for symptoms to occur may be a fatal call hence it is always recommended to get regular blood pressure readings.
High pressure can cause the arteries to harden leading to a decrease in the flow of blood and oxygen heart. It can also burst or block arteries that supply oxygen to the brain which may lead to a stroke. In addition to it, hypertension can damage an individual’s kidney leading to kidney failure.
How To Control High Blood Pressure?
Exercising: Regular physical activity helps not only in lowering blood pressure but also in elevating one’s mood, increase strength along with the risk of diabetes and other heart-related ailments.
Diet: Monitor your eating habits. Include a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses in your daily meals. Have lean meats, fish and dairy products with low-fat content. It is hard to resist but stay away from processed foods that are high in saturated fats.
Cut Down Smoking: There is a temporary spike in the blood pressure level for each cigarette smoked so for people who are heavy smokers, this could spell a lot of trouble. Hence, people with High blood pressure and heavy smoking habit are at great risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke.
Stress-Free Life: A tension free life in today’s time is hypothetical. But then there are ways one can work around the problems and beat stress before it gets overwhelming leading to fluctuations in BP levels and a host of other ailments. Meditating, taking timely vacations or yoga can go a long way in helping one maintain balance and tranquility in their life.