Anyone who has a doctor’s appointment almost always has their blood pressure taken. You’ve most likely had this experience, but maybe don’t even pay attention to the number.
Blood pressure refers to the pressure applied by the circulating blood against the walls of the blood vessels. The normal blood pressure ranges from less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic pressure. Anything above or below this normal range is referred to as high or low blood pressure that can result in significant medical problems.
What are the Causes of High or Low Blood Pressure?
Several factors play a role in the development of irregular blood pressure — including genetics, lifestyle, diet, and age. Additionally, other lifestyle and medical conditions impact blood pressure.
Increased salt or fat intake increases blood pressure, while a diet deficient in Vitamin B12, folate, or iron might decrease your blood pressure.
Chronic Medical Conditions
Hormonal and kidney problems, high cholesterol, and diabetes might result in hypertension. On the other hand, allergies, anemia, or neurological disorders might lower your blood pressure.
A family history of raised or lowered blood pressure might predispose you to have blood pressure issues.
Some birth control medicines also cause high blood pressure.
Obesity is a key risk factor for hypertension. Shedding some pounds can help manage high blood pressure.
Stress and anxiety can increase blood pressure. Taking rest can aid in lowering it down.
Low blood pressure is frequently encountered during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Complications of Hypertension
High blood pressure damages the lining of the arteries, making them prone to plaque formation. This results in the narrowing of these arteries. Hypertension predisposes one to multiple diseases such as heart failure, chronic renal diseases, arrhythmias, heart valvular diseases, aortic syndromes, and dementia. In addition to these, hypertension is also a major risk factor for stroke.
The use of antihypertensive drugs allows us to prevent these adverse outcomes. Hypertension is related to an increased incidence of both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.
Early Detection of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the major causes of death and disability around the world. Results from the Canadian Health Measures Survey showed that, among adults aged 20 to 79 years, 23% of females and 24% of males had hypertension. This means that their BP measured about greater than or equal to 140/90 mm of Hg. While those aged 20-39 were less aware, not frequently screened or treated for raised blood pressure. Awareness and regular monitoring of blood pressure play a vital role in reducing adverse effects and helps in making early lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle Changes for Blood Pressure and Heart Health
Measures such as following a proper balanced diet and exercise can help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Cutting down on alcohol consumption and consulting your healthcare provider about ongoing medications and their side effects might help you manage your blood pressure.
Quitting nicotine also has a major effect on your health. Smoking can be dangerous for your heart and lungs as well. Moreover, increased physical activity and potassium intake, weight loss, and reduced salt intake have shown promising results.