Otherwise known as high blood pressure, hypertension is a common medical condition in which there is persistent rise in the blood pressure in the arteries, that is: there is a consistent force of blood or strain against the blood vessel walls or artery walls. It can weaken and bring damage to the arteries.
One can be said to have high blood pressure when he/she has a blood pressure reading of more than 140/90 mmHg (millimeter of mercury) persistently over a number of weeks. High blood pressure is not a one-off thing, it is persistent, that is: over time.
In checking your blood pressure, if the upper digit is persistently over 140, it is known as Isolated Systolic Hypertension and when the lower digit is persistently higher than 90, it is referred to as Isolated Diastolic Hypertension.
Apart from the damage it does to the arteries, it also puts pressure or strain on the heart which can over time result in a stroke, a heart disease or heart attack if not managed properly. It can also lead to kidney disease and dementia.
For a lot of people, there is no one cause for hypertension. When the cause cannot be determined, this case is referred to as Essential hypertension. However when the cause can be traced directly, then it is called secondary hypertension, a primary cause of secondary hypertension is kidney disease.
There are some factors that increase your risk of being hypertensive. Some of which are:
- Too much of salt intake and fatty foods,
- Too much alcohol intake and smoking,
- Obesity or overweight,
- Lack of sufficient vegetable and fruit consumption,
- You are not active enough, that is: Lack of physical activity,
As you advance in age, the risk of being hypertensive increases especially if the person in question is continuously stressed. It may also be hereditary so if you have a family history of hypertension, you may be at higher risk.
The good news is that it can be managed effectively. Healthy habits and eating right can help lower the blood pressure and maintain it. Some of the healthy habits can that can be adopted include:
- Considerably lower your salt intake.
- Watch your weight, Exercise often. Keep active.
- Take in a lot of fruits and vegetable.
- Religiously keep your appointments with the doctor and take your prescribed medications.
Hypertension if not watched properly can lead to death, through heart attacks, strokes and all manner of disease. These days, thanks to technology, we have very handy and affordable home-use medical kits for checking blood pressure. Make use of them especially as you advance in age, and do not ignore or skip your appointments with the doctor.