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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Risk and Complications

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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Risk and Complications

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) According to a study, high blood pressure is more common and severe in African Americans and develops at an earlier age as compared to Whites and Mexican Americans. Among African Americans, women are more prone to high blood pressure as compared to men.

Family History of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure runs in genes. If your parents, siblings, or close blood relatives have high blood pressure, then you are at a greater risk of having HBP.

Lifestyle Factors of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

1. Alcohol:

  • Recent research suggests that heavy drinking is associated with high blood pressure. More than three drinks per day can increase your risk of high blood pressure along with high cholesterol levels. For people who consume alcohol, moderate consumption is recommended, i.e. for men, no more than two drinks per day, and for women, no more than one drink per day

2. Age: 

The prevalence of hypertension increases with advancing age due to the following reasons:

    • Changes in hormone levels
    • The efficiency of the heart decreases with age
    • Changes in the walls of arteries and other blood vessels

3. Higher intake of sodium in diet: 

  • Sodium is a commonly used food preservative. If you eat a lot of packaged, processed, or restaurant foods, you are likely to consume higher than recommended amounts of daily sodium intake. Consuming a higher amount of sodium in the body results in fluid retention, which increases blood pressure

4. Lack of vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D is known to be vital for good health, growth, and strong bones. According to a study, vitamin D also acts as an anti-hypertensive agent. It antagonizes the effect of an enzyme renin (present in the kidneys), which accelerates the synthesis of a hormone known as angiotensin. Since angiotensin increases blood volume and blood pressure, inhibiting its effect has a favorable impact on lowering the blood pressure

5. Physical inactivity:

  • According to a study, approximately 35 percent of coronary heart disease mortality in the US is due to physical inactivity. If you are physically inactive, then you are at a greater risk of having a higher heart rate. At an elevated heart rate, the workload on your heart increases, which puts extra pressure on the arteries and hence raises your blood pressure

6. Smoking:

  • Cigarette contains a harmful substance, known as nicotine, which can damage the lining of your artery walls. Thus, smoking leads to the narrowing of the arteries and an increase in blood pressure

Medical Conditions of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

1. Insomnia: 

  • Sleep is the natural process that calms and relaxes your body after a long hectic day. If you are sleeping for less than six hours a day or waking up more than two to three times at night, it raises your risk of high blood pressure. Lack of sleep elevates your stress hormones, which in turn may raise your heart rate. 

2. Pre-hypertension:

  • If your blood pressure levels are higher than normal, i.e. systolic pressure between 120-139 mmHg and diastolic pressure between 80-89 mmHg, then you are at a risk for developing high blood pressure. Basically, pre-hypertension helps both patients and clinicians to intervene on time and prevent or delay the development of high blood pressure

1. Systolic blood pressure (Upper number):

  • It is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats; 

2. Diastolic blood pressure (Lower number):

  • It is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats.

Overweight/Obesity of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

People who are overweight or obese i.e. body mass index (BMI) ≥30kg/m2, have higher blood volume as more blood is required to supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. To cope with the body’s demands, the arteries have to pump more blood, which increases the pressure on their walls and results in high blood pressure.

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