High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Symptoms and Risks

High Blood Pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition when pressure builds up against your artery walls, potentially causing serious health problems, mainly heart disease. The arteries are vessels that transfer the blood from the pumping heart and distributes the blood to the all the body’s tissue and organs. Therefore, the narrower your arteries are, the more blood your heart has to pump, causing you to have a higher blood pressure.

The American Heart Association estimates that 1 of every 3 adult Americans, nearly 73 million, are affected by high blood pressure. They also estimate that nearly two million American teens and children are affected by the disease, many of them being under-diagnosed. With this prevalent information, it is clear to see that hypertension is a major health concern for our country.

The good thing is that detecting high blood pressure is extremely easy to do. The major problem is that most people tend to overlook the fact that they might have high blood pressure. This is due to the fact that normally hypertension builds over a period of time and often people do not have any symptoms of the disease.

Symptoms associated with having hypertension typically include the following:

• Headaches
• Dizzy spells
• Nosebleeds, more than normal

However, these symptoms will not normally occur until your high blood pressure has reached a more severe level.

Therefore, it is extremely important to know and understand the risk factors that may lead to the development of high blood pressure so that you are better able to control your risk. The following risks can all contribute to someone developing hypertension:

  • Being overweight or obese – this is because your body needs to pump more blood for oxygen and nutrients to reach the body’s tissues creating more pressure through your arteries.

  • Age – unfortunately, growing up is a pain and there is not much you can do about it. As you continue to get older, the higher the risk of your blood pressure increasing.

  • Tobacco use – the use of tobacco products, such as smoking or chewing, immediately increase your blood pressure. The more you use, the more damage that is done to your arteries, making them smaller and increasing your blood pressure.

  • Not being physically active – this contributes to a number of problems. Most people who are not physically active tend to be overweight. Also, they tend to have higher heart rates creating more force on your arteries.

  • A diet high in sodium (salt) – Having too much sodium in your diet will cause your body to retain fluid, ultimately increasing blood pressure.

  • Family history – like age, unfortunately there is not much you can do about this risk. If you have a family history of the disease, your chances of developing the disease greatly increase.

  • Too much alcohol consumption – excessively drinking can damage your heart overtime. Consuming three or more drinks in a sitting can cause the body to release hormones throughout the body, in turn, increasing your blood flow and your heart rate.

  • Stress – stress can temporarily raise your blood pressure levels. How you deal with your stress is the key. If you tend to use food, tobacco or alcohol, you are only adding to the problem.

Most of these risks can be controlled. It is best to talk your doctor and develop an action plan to determine what is best for you.

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