Detect – Protect- Correct high blood pressure: Hypertension

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the pressure that blood applies to the walls of the arteries. Arteries are blood vessels carrying blood from your heart to all your body parts.

Your blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day. It also varies while you are physically active and with a lot of other factors. It is a very common disease and is generally under detected. According to scientific data, one in every four individuals have high blood pressure. And even with such high estimated numbers, very few people know they have hypertension and even fewer manage to control and treat it.

What are the causes of hypertension or high blood pressure?

Most people have essential or primary hypertension. It basically means that the cause of high blood pressure is not known. Hereditary or genetic factors, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, smoking, and emotional stress, are some of the elements contributing to essential hypertension.

Secondary hypertension means that there is an underlying cause for high blood pressure. Usually, it is kidney disease or hormone disorder. Your doctor will do tests to make sure if you have secondary hypertension.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

Hypertension does not usually cause any symptoms. Most people think that if their blood pressure is high, they will have a headache. That is not true at all. It is important to measure and monitor your blood pressure regularly to know if you have hypertension or not.

What are the risks associated with hypertension?

 A sustained high blood pressure, over long times, can cause substantial damage to your blood vessels, kidneys, hearts and a lot of other important organs. Higher the pressure of blood in your vessels, the more likely that they will be damaged. People with sustained high blood pressure can develop chronic kidney disease, heart failure, and bleeding in the brain and eye, among a host of other problems. We commonly see patients who have developed chronic kidney disease stages 4 and 5 because of high blood pressure and are completely unaware that their blood pressure was high. Most of these patients are between 30-45 years of age. If the hypertension is detected in time and managed their kidneys and heart can be saved.

Is there a treatment for High blood pressure?

Yes, high blood pressure can be controlled with lifestyle changes and medicines. Throughout this series over the next few months, I will discuss more about how to measure and control your blood pressure.