A silent killer globally, BP is best treated – not ignored.
High blood pressure (or hypertension) is a common condition wherein the long-term pressure of blood against artery walls is high enough to eventually trigger health problems, including heart disease. The volume of blood pumped by the heart and the degree of resistance to the blood flow in the arteries determines blood pressure. Therefore, the more blood the heart pumps and the narrower the arteries, the higher is the blood pressure.
Signs and Symptoms
You could suffer hypertension for years devoid of symptoms. Without symptoms too, damage to your heart and blood vessels can continue undetected. Uncontrolled BP raises the risks of severe health problems such as heart attack and stroke, even resulting in death.
Affecting almost every person, high BP can develop gradually over the years. Nonetheless, it can be easily detected. Once aware of your status, you can control it with the doctor’s help. Many afflicted with high BP show no obvious signs or symptoms – even when it reaches dangerously high levels. Some people, however, may suffer headaches, shortness of breath and nosebleeds. Yet, such symptoms may not be specific and generally not occur until the BP reaches alarming or life-threatening levels.
So it’s safer to have your BP checked once in two years after age 18. If BP runs in your family, or if you are 40-plus, take BP readings annually. Also, BP should be checked in both the arms to discover any difference. If already diagnosed with high BP – or suffering risk factors such as cardiovascular disease – your doctor will recommend frequent check-ups. BP machines are also available, allowing one to check readings at home. If BP readings remain high consistently, your doctor will recommend suitable drugs to control it.
Causes and Control
Stress, excess salt consumption and underlying conditions such as kidney disease can cause high BP. Though blood pressure can be controlled through diet, after it reaches the hypertension stage, medications are advisable.
To control high BP, moderate-intensity exercise of minimum 30 minutes, 5-6 times a week is essential. Avoiding stress and abstaining from alcohol, drugs, tobacco as well as junk food can all help control BP. Remember, globally, BP is one of the major silent killers that’s best not ignored but treated immediately.