Symptoms and Risks of High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure is defined as a common condition in which the force of the blood against the wall of the arteries is so high that it can lead to heart disease and stroke. This condition is also known as hypertension. According to Mayo Clinic, one can determine blood pressure by the amount of blood the heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in the arteries. The more blood the heart pumps and the narrower the arteries are, the higher the blood pressure.

Most people do not experience symptoms with high blood pressure, even if their blood pressure levels are very high. Therefore, it is crucial that blood pressure readings are a part of your regular doctor checkups.

According to Mayo Clinic, some people with high blood pressure that do experience symptoms will have:
• Headaches
• Shortness of breath; and/or
• Nosebleeds

However, these symptoms are not specific and may not occur unless blood pressure is at a life-threatening stage.

High blood pressure that gradually occurs over time is known as primary hypertension. Secondary hypertension occurs suddenly and tends to cause higher blood pressure than primary hypertension. Some causes for secondary hypertension may include:

• Obstructive sleep apnea
• Kidney problems
• Adrenal gland tumors
• Thyroid problems
• Certain medications such as birth control, over-the-counter pain relievers, some prescription drugs; and
• Alcohol abuse
There are several risk factors for high blood pressure. They may include:
• Age
• Race
• Family history
• Being overweight or physically inactive
• Tobacco use
• Alcohol abuse
• Diet high in sodium
• Diet low in potassium and Vitamin D
• Stress; and
• Certain chronic conditions
According to the Mayo Clinic, if high blood pressure remains uncontrolled, it may lead to:
• Heart attack or stroke
• Aneurysm
• Heart failure
• Weakened and narrow blood vessels in the kidneys
• Thickened, narrowed, or torn blood vessels in the eyes
• Metabolic syndrome; and
• Trouble with memory or understanding

If you feel you may be at risk for high blood pressure, see a doctor and get checked. It is never too late to make changes in your diet, become physically active, or quit smoking, in order to ameliorate your lifestyle.

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