“If you have high blood pressure, you may not even know about it. That’s why high blood pressure is often called the ‘silent killer’. There are rarely any signs or symptoms and millions of people with hypertension don’t even know they have it.” Kepha Nyanumba- Nutritionist Afya Pap
You can’t see high blood pressure, also called hypertension. And most of the time, you can’t feel it. But if you’re among the 1.13 billion people who have hypertension, it’s important to understand its effects on your health and take action to bring your numbers down to healthier levels. Blood pressure is a measure of the force that your blood applies to the walls of your arteries as it flows through them. When arteries are well dilated and in good health, blood flows with ease hence the heart is not overworked. However, if the arteries are stiff or too narrow, blood pressure increases and the heart becomes overburdened. It’s normal for your blood pressure to temporarily increase when you exert yourself, or when you feel anxious or stressed. But if your blood pressure is consistently higher than the healthy level when at rest, it is called hypertension.
Blood pressure is an essential part of the way your body works. Your blood carries oxygen and nutrients around your body and is pumped by your heart. Your blood is under pressure as a result of the pumping action of your heart and the size and flexibility of your arteries, which carry your blood. According to the World Health Organization, high blood pressure affects more than one in three adults worldwide. If you have very high blood pressure, or your blood pressure rises quickly, you may have headaches, problems with your vision etc. Making lifestyle adjustments brings blood pressure down and in other cases, you may need a combination of lifestyle changes and medication to control your blood pressure.
Facts About Hypertension
- If you have high blood pressure, you may not even know about it. That’s why high blood pressure is often called the ‘silent killer’. There are rarely any signs or symptoms and millions of people with hypertension don’t even know they have it.
- If you have high blood pressure, you have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain caused by reduced blood flow, stroke, heart attack, heart failure and irregular heartbeat.
- A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of high blood pressure. Regular exercise helps your heart muscle become more efficient and keep your blood pressure under control.
- Too much alcohol can increase your risk of high blood pressure. Other lifestyle factors that increase your risk include being overweight.
- High blood pressure can damage the walls of your arteries, causing coronary artery disease and stroke. It can also damage the heart muscle, leading to heart failure.
- The majority of people with high blood pressure have primary hypertension. This means there is no single cause, but various lifestyle factors contribute, including: smoking, obesity, excessive alcohol intake, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.
- Some people have a known underlying cause of hypertension including: kidney disease, endocrine disease (hormone disorders) or a narrowing of part of the aorta or arteries leading to the kidneys. The is called secondary hypertension
What Is White coat Hypertension?
Blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day. White coat hypertension occurs when the blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office are higher than other settings, such as your home. This is because of being anxious. In order to confirm that you actually have high blood pressure, several readings are needed. A standard way to measure high blood pressure is with an electronic machine after five quiet minutes in the examination room. Alternatively, you may have your blood pressure measured over a period of 24 hours with a specialized home monitor or keep logs of your blood pressure readings taken at home.
Emergencies Related to Hypertension!
Heart attacks and strokes are common emergencies related to high blood pressure and can be life threatening. If you have high blood pressure, it’s critical that you and those around you recognize the signs of a heart attack or stroke. Signs of an impending stroke include slurred speech and blurry vision. If you begin to experience these symptoms or someone with you notices you acting strangely, contact emergency services immediately.