What Causes High Blood Pressure and how to control it?

What Causes High Blood Pressure and how to control it?

01-09-2016   |   Posted By: Admin   |   2976 View(s)

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is one of the most common health problems these days. The force at which our blood pumps from the heart into the arteries is termed as blood pressure. A normal blood pressure (BP) reading is less than 120/80 mm Hg.

When the blood pressure is high, the blood moves through the arteries with extra force, which puts increased pressure on the tissues in the arteries and damages the blood vessels. It is a serious health concern and if not treated at the right time, it can also cause various other health conditions such as stroke and heart disease.

Not only stroke but paralysis, brain damage, kidney failure are some of the results of escalated blood pressure. Also referred to as “silent killer”, high blood pressure affects approximately half of American adults. Even in India, the stats are not good- One in three Indian adults have high blood pressure.

But what causes high blood pressure? Let us explore the various causes and symptoms of hypertension.

What are the Causes of High Blood Pressure?

The causes of high blood pressure can be divided into two major categories:

1. Essential High Blood Pressure – This type of blood pressure has no specific cause.
2. Secondary High Blood Pressure – There is an underlying cause of this type of high blood pressure.

Though there is no established cause of essential high blood pressure, there are some risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing the condition.

Some of the factors that trigger high blood pressure are:

• Smoking and Drinking
• Lack of physical exercise
• Being Overweight
• Taking too much stress
• Consuming too much salt
• Thyroid Disorders
• Kidney Diseases
• Genetics
• Sleep Apnea

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What are the major risk factors for high blood pressure?

The major risk factors for high blood pressure are:

1. Age

As people grow older, their chances of developing high blood pressure increases.

2. Family History

If you have any family member who has hypertension, your chances of getting it are higher.

3. Temperature

According to studies, diastolic and systolic blood pressure values differ across the year and according to the distribution of outdoor temperature. Studies suggest that blood pressure is lower when the temperature is warm, and it rises when the temperature gets colder.

4. Obesity

Being overweight and obese puts you at risk for hypertension. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop high blood pressure, compared to those who have a healthy weight. Eat a healthy diet and exercise to prevent obesity and high blood pressure.

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5. Lack of Exercise

Being physically inactive is not good for your health because it increases your risk of developing hypertension.

6. Smoking

When you smoke, the blood vessels become narrow, which in turn lead to high blood pressure. Smoking reduces the content of oxygen in the blood which causes the heart to pump faster, resulting in a rise in blood pressure.

7. Consumption of Alcohol

According to studies, people who consume alcohol on a regular basis have higher systolic blood pressure than people who don’t.

8. Junk Food Intake

Many health experts believe that a diet high in oil and fat leads to high blood pressure. However, you must keep in mind that healthy fats sourced from plants such as nuts, olive oil and avocados are good for your health. It is the bad fats that you get from eating processed and junk food that harms your health.

9. Stress

Stress has a huge connection with high blood pressure. Stress causes high blood pressure.

10. Diabetes

People who suffer from diabetes mellitus are more likely to develop hypertension. Both Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes can lead to high blood pressure.

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11. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an immune system condition characterised by thick, red, scaly patches on the skin. Various studies show that psoriasis increases the likelihood of developing high blood pressure and diabetes.

12. High Salt Intake

According to researchers, people who do not eat much salt have lower blood pressures than people who eat a lot of salt.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?

Many people with high blood pressure do not experience any symptoms. However, once blood pressure reaches about 180/110 mmHg, you must consult a doctor. The symptoms during this stage include:

• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Dizziness
• Blurred or double vision
• Nosebleed
• Shortness of breath
• A headache
• An irregular beating of the heart

Anyone who experiences these symptoms must consult a doctor immediately.

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Children with high blood pressure may have the following symptoms:

• A headache
• Fatigue
• Blurred vision
• Nosebleeds
• Difficulty controlling the facial muscles on one side of the face
Newborns with high blood pressure may experience the following signs and symptoms:
• Lethargy
• Failure to thrive
• Irritability
• Respiratory distress

The dangerous fact is that most people with hypertension are not even aware of their condition. Sometimes the symptoms are so subtle that you will not take them into account before a health catastrophe kicks in. Hence, it is best to go for a health checkup on a regular basis to monitor blood pressure and screen for other diseases that can be caused by high blood pressure.

Also, people who are diagnosed with hypertension should have their blood pressure checked on a frequent basis. It is vital to take proper treatment for high blood pressure because if left untreated, it can lead to a range of health conditions including stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, eye disease, memory problems and aneurysm.

What Are The Ways to Control High Blood Pressure?

There are some easy tips you can follow to control high blood pressure. Some of them are:

Some of the Effective ways of Reducing Blood Pressure:

1. Eat Healthily

A healthy diet is vital to reduce Blood Pressure. One of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy diet is to follow the DASH Diet, which stands for Dietary Approached to Stop Hypertension.

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It is highly recommended by the doctors and is very easy to follow. You have to take care of the below-mentioned points while following this diet:-

a. Include lots of fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods in your diet.

b. You must reduce the intake of foods that are high in cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats.

c. You must limit the intake of sodium, red meats, sugary drinks and sweets.

d. Eat foods rich in potassium

e. Eat calcium-rich foods.

Apart from this, one must not skip their meal. Instead, they should eat 4-5 times a day in small portions. And people with High Blood Pressure must fill their meals with fruits, vegetables, yoghurt, whole grains and lean protein. Remember, eating healthily is an essential step to reducing your Blood Pressure.

2. Push yourself for some Physical Activities

Just eating healthy is not enough. Our body needs some work out to be fit and healthy. As already mentioned above, obesity is one of the leading causes of High Blood Pressure. Thus, one must indulge in some of the physical activities to manage their weight so that they can reduce blood pressure easily. It is said that consistent exercise can lower your Blood Pressure by 4 to 9 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg).

Thus, you must exercise for at least 30 minutes daily. The best suitable exercises for reducing Blood Pressure are – jogging, walking, cycling and swimming. If you are not sure about which exercise will suit you the best, consult your Doctor for developing an exercise program. But, keep in mind that exercise is a must!

3. Reduce Intake of Sodium

People with high blood pressure must reduce their consumption of Sodium. You must avoid eating food from restaurant or foods which are prepackaged as they are often very high in sodium. Various studies suggest that if you cut even a little bit of salt consumption from your diet, it will result in lowering your Blood Pressure. The American Heart Association recommends that you keep your sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg a day. Thus, consume less salt and see your Blood Pressure get reduced in a simple and easy way.

How much Salt do We Need Daily to Stay Healthy?

4. Quit Smoking and Drinking

It might sound easy to stop drinking and smoking. It is difficult to follow practically as once you get into this habit, you get addicted to it and then it is hard to let go of it. But, for the sake of your health, you must quit Smoking and drinking to reduce Blood Pressure. Meditate and exercise regularly to get rid of this habit.

Whenever you are feeling an urge to smoke/ drink, chew gum or start munching something, as it will help to reduce that urge. Even then if you feel you always have an urge to smoke/drink, consult a doctor. They will provide you with medications and self-help Techniques which will help you to Quit Smoking and Drinking.

5. Manage your Weight

Weight Loss is an effective method of reducing blood pressure. It is because your blood pressure increases if you gain weight and it reduces if you lose some weight. Therefore, you must eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to manage your weight. Because if your weight is reduced, so will your Blood Pressure.

6. Keep Calm and Don’t take Stress

Stress is again one of the common causes of high blood pressure. Before trying ways to manage your stress, first, try to know what triggers you to be stressed. Be mindful when something is bothering you. Keep a journal and write down what made you stressed at that particular time.

Once you know the exact cause of your stress, you will be able to manage it effectively. Do what you love and keep some time for your hobbies. Do not worry about small things and do not over think about anything that is troubling you. Read good books. Listen to the music.

Last, but not the least, even if you are having some major troubles with your life, just remember a famous quote, ‘It is a bad day, and not a bad life.’ Thus, whatever is troubling, let it go out of your mind and move on and live a happy and healthy life.

7. Meditate

Sit straight, cross your legs and keep your hands on your lap. Take a deep breathe slowly and focus on your breathing. If you have just started meditating, do it for at least 5-10 minutes. Surround yourself with supportive people

8. Monitor your Blood Pressure Regularly

It is rightly said that ‘Prevention is better than Cure.’ Thus, one must monitor their Blood Pressure consistently to avoid the occurrence of any major health concern later. These days, Blood Pressure Monitors are available, and you can get them without any prescription and check your BP.

Other than that, visiting your Doctor regularly and getting a Full body Checkup done is also an effective way to control your Blood Pressure and also to prevent any other health issues.

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Although High Blood Pressure is a common problem these days, it should be treated in time so that it doesn’t lead to other serious health conditions. Thus, follow the tips as mentioned above and reduce your Blood Pressure easily.

9. Cut Back on Caffeine

Caffeine is known to cause a short increase in your blood pressure. Some medical experts believe that caffeine could block a hormone that keeps our arteries widened while others think that caffeine causes your adrenal glands to release more adrenaline, which in turn causes high blood pressure. So cut back on caffeine to lower your blood pressure.

10. Sleep Well

Lack of sleep can impact your body’s ability to regulate stress hormones, which can cause high blood pressure. Obstructive sleep apnea is also one of the causes of high blood pressure. Have a good night sleep to manage your blood pressure.

What are the Five Primary Dangers of High Blood Pressure

1. It Damages Blood Veins

The blood veins or arteries in your body are flexible, powerful and resilient in normal states. But with high blood pressure, they can be severely damaged. Blood pressure can turn the slender layers of blood veins thicker. Thicker blood veins are more receptive to the fatty elements from the foods. These can further ruin the arteries and preventing blood flow in kidneys, heart, your limbs and your brain. The results can be varied- from chest pain to kidney failure, from heart attack to eyesight destruction and so on.

2. It Inflates the Left Heart

High BP eventually makes your heart work over time. The heart needs to put extra emphasis on pumping blood all through the body. This brings a change into the left ventricle, and it gets more rigid. A hardened left ventricle means less blood flow and puffed up the left heart. The consequences have three stages- heart failure, heart attack and ultimately death caused by a cardiovascular assault.

3. It causes Heart Failure

High blood pressure wears off your heart condition. Mounting blood pumping task, rigid blood veins are some of the reasons behind it. The heart muscles also dwindle over time. If precautionary measures are not taken at the right time, it may lead to ultimate heart failure.

4.BP can lead to Brain Stroke

Like your heart, your brain also depends upon BP for the right functioning. High blood pressure means that the blood vessels that are linked directly to your brain- face stiff obstacles from clots. Also when BP goes out of control, it may cause the blood veins to crack, drip or getting smashed up. Both of the incidents mentioned above are the reasons for brain stroke.

5. Dementia is another side-effect of high BP

Dementia has many symptoms- the difficulty in speaking, thinking, hearing, memorising, natural movement and few more. Many factors work behind dementia, but among them, high blood pressure is one. Uncontrollable BP gets the blood veins blocked that supply blood flow to the brain.

Apart from the above five dangers; high blood pressure causes kidney failure, cognitive harm, coronary syndrome and a host of others.
Although High Blood Pressure is a common problem these days, it should be treated in time so that it doesn’t lead to other serious health conditions. Thus, follow the tips as mentioned above and reduce your Blood Pressure easily.

It is highly recommended that you keep a tab on your BP on a continuous basis if you happen to suffer from High BP. Also, you should Visit the doctor to ensure Good Health at all times and get a Health Checkup done to keep health conditions at bay.

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