From the previous blog on hypertension, you must be knowing how much significant health burden this disease has on our society. Previously considered a disease of old age, now high blood pressure is even affecting younger individuals also due to changing lifestyle habits and routine. It’s not uncommon to see a young lad walking into a health clinic with a significantly high blood pressure which he might even not be aware off.
To understand what is hypertension, what are the optima levels of blood pressure, how hypertension is caused and many other important facts, kindly read my previous blog on hypertension.
High Blood Pressure
The reason why this health issue is called “Silent Killer” is because of its tendency to go on for years without any noticeable symptoms.
Often asymptomatic doesn’t mean it won’t cause any harm. Uncontrolled blood pressure or hypertension is associated with significant complications and affects several organs of the body mainly eyes, kidneys, vascular system, brain and even heart.
High blood pressure which is unattended is a risk factor for Stroke and Heart attacks.
High blood pressure or Hypertension is a chronic disease. There are two basic types:
- Primary hypertension: also known as Essential hypertension: It generally develops over a period of time and the exact cause is still not well understood. However following are the most important factors that can play a role in its development.
- Familial or Genetics
- Type A personality
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Smoking Habit
- Secondary hypertension: This type develops as a result of some other ongoing medical condition. Common causes includes.
- Kidney Disease
- Thyroid Dysfunction
- OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
- Endocrine Tumors
- Certain Drug Abuse
- Adrenal Gland Dysfunction
Symptoms Of Hypertension
Some common warning features includes:
- Generalised Headaches On and Off
- Blurred Vision
- Chest Discomfort
- Abrupt Nose Bleed
If you encounter any of these symptoms then you need to start monitoring your blood pressure on daily basis. It should be done twice a day for at-least a week after relaxing for minimum of 15 minutes while sitting upright on a chair with your feet resting on ground. There should be no consumption of Tea or Coffee at-least an hour prior to blood pressure recording.
Risk of developing hypertension is even higher if there is a family history of same.
If high blood pressure is left unattended it can cause heart disease and some serious complications such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
Other potential problems are:
- Kidney Injury
- Retinal damage leading to vision loss
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
- Transient Ischemic Attacks causing memory loss
When To Seek Medical Attention
- If you are young and you started with lifestyle modification to bring your blood pressure levels within optimal range, but even after 1 month of strict routine you are not observing any decrease in you BP levels.
- You have already consulted a doctor and have started taking antihypertensive medications as prescribed but even after a week your BP readings are constant above desired range.
- If on two separate occasions and with proper BP measurement technique, your BP recording shows a BP of >180/120 mmHg. This is a medical emergency (Hypertensive Crisis) and one should take it seriously and seek urgent medical attention.
Take Home Message
Once you developed high blood pressure, it becomes a part of life for most of the patients. Monitoring and treatment will continue for the rest of your life. However, in some patients it reverts to normal with strict lifestyle measures and medications. Proper treatment lowers the risk of devastating and life threatening complications significantly.
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