Also known as the “silent killer”, hypertension usually comes with no symptoms at all. In developing countries especially, most victims are unaware of the disease. There are also limitations to treatments that can control blood pressure and significantly reduce the risk of death and disability from heart disease and stroke. Sometimes, hypertension causes symptoms like headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, and nosebleeds, but this is not the case in many people. Thus, early detection, treatment, and control of hypertension is an important health priority worldwide.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension is a rise in normal blood pressure beyond acceptable ranges. It causes complications severe enough to hamper the quality of life or reduce one’s life expectancy. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart has to pump.

Having high blood pressure for a short time can be a normal response to many situations. Acute stress and intense exercise, for example, can briefly elevate blood pressure in a healthy person. This is why a diagnosis of hypertension normally requires several readings that show high blood pressure over time. Regularly checking your blood pressure is vital, as there will usually be no symptoms to make you aware of the condition.

 

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Who gets hypertension?

As with other diseases, there are risk factors that increase one’s possibility of developing the disease. Below are some important risk factors for hypertension:

Black race: Hypertension is more common in blacks than in any other race. Several studies have been made to identify the peculiarity of the association. But, dietary habits can be fingered (excessive salt intake in a diet associated with processed and fatty foods).

Family history: People who have a family history of hypertension are more likely to develop hypertension.

Other factors: Factors such as obesity, use of alcohol and tobacco, mismanaged stress and physical inactivity. As well as existing health conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and high cholesterol levels.

Fast facts

  • Acute causes of high blood pressure include stress, but it can happen on its own, or it can result from an underlying condition, such as kidney disease.
  • Regular health checks are the best way to monitor your blood pressure.
  • Unmanaged hypertension can lead to a heart attack, stroke, and other problems.
  • While blood pressure is best regulated through the diet before it reaches the stage of hypertension, there is a range of treatment options.
  • Lifestyle factors are the best way to address high blood pressure. To help control blood pressure, avoid stress, avoid using alcohol or drugs, refrain from smoking and eating unhealthily. Patients with hypertension are also encouraged to engage in 30-minute aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, cycling or swimming regularly.

Source: Naija Hope Team

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