Key Signs to Lookout for High BP
Hypertension is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ as most of the people who suffer from the condition display no high blood pressure symptoms. Some signs of high BP may include headaches, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, flushing, dizziness, chest pain, blurred vision, etc. Here’s all you need to know about the contributing factors, so you can look out for hypertension.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
Generally, there are two types of hypertension and each has different causes:
- Essential High Blood Pressure – In 90% patients there is no known cause for hypertension, this type of high blood pressure is called essential hypertension. Essential hypertension is closely linked to diet, lifestyle, family history, age, race, sodium intake, obesity, smoking and drinking.
- Secondary High Blood Pressure – When a direct cause for high blood pressure can be identified, the condition is described as secondary hypertension. Kidney diseases are the most known causes of secondary hypertension. Birth control pills, pregnancy, medications that constrict blood vessels may also cause secondary hypertension.
Let’s understand the risk factors that influence essential and secondary high blood pressure:
- Obesity – People who are overweight are more prone to develop high blood pressure.
- Age – As a person ages, the blood vessels become less flexible and thus the risk of high blood pressure increases as a person ages.
- Family History – People whose close family members have hypertension (grandparents, father, mother etc.) at a higher risk of developing high BP.
- Smoking & Alcohol – Tobacco intake causes blood vessels to narrow and smoking reduces the oxygen content in the blood which requires the heart to pump faster; all of which can result in high blood pressure. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can dramatically raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart failure, stroke, and irregular heartbeat.
- High Sodium Diet – Those people who eat foods that have high salt content are at a higher risk of developing hypertension. Salt increases the amount of sodium in the bloodstream which means extra fluid in the body and more pressure on the blood vessels resulting in high blood pressure.
- High Cholesterol – More than 50 % of people with high blood pressure have high cholesterol. A diet that contains lots of unhealthful fats can cause cholesterol to build up in the arteries.
- Stress – Constant mental stress can also be one of the causes of high blood pressure. Stress can occur as a result of both socioeconomic and psychosocial factors.
- Diabetes – People who suffer from diabetes have a higher risk of developing hypertension. Diabetes damages arteries and makes them targets for hardening, called atherosclerosis. That can cause high blood pressure, which if not treated, can lead to trouble including blood vessel damage, heart attack, and kidney failure.
- Pregnancy – Women are at a risk of developing gestational hypertension during pregnancy. This means that women can develop high blood pressure during pregnancy even when they did not have high BP previously. It is a serious condition and needs to be monitored closely. Also, Preeclampsia is a placental disorder that can increase blood pressure to dangerous levels. So if any of these risk factors apply to you, remember to regularly check your blood pressure – even if you don’t have it today, you may be at risk for developing it. Fixing any of these risk factors that you can will also always work in your favour!
Note of caution: This article is for information purpose only. Always consult your doctor before altering any diet plans, medications or in case of any other blood pressure related troubles.