High blood pressure (Hypertension), commonly referred to as ‘BP’, is an epidemic condition in which the long-term force of blood against an individual’s artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems such as heart disease and possibly stroke. It is a chronic medical condition in which blood pressure within the arteries is incessantly elevated and obstinately refusing to drop.
Blood pressure, in basic terms, is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels during circulation of blood around the body. This pressure depends on the work being done by the heart and the resistance to blood flow within the vessels. This implies that there is a relation between the pumping force of the heart and the arterial resistance to that blood flow. In other words, blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood the heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in the arteries. The more the blood pumped by the heart and the narrower the arteries, the higher the blood pressure. Hypertension and its effects are global health concerns which are believed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to have been propelled by an increase in production of refined and processed foods which contain elevated amounts of salts in them. The acute causes of high blood pressure include stress or an underlying healthy condition such as diabetes mellitus and untreated kidney diseases.
Primary and Secondary
High blood pressure is classified as either primary (essential) high blood pressure or secondary high blood pressure. About 90 to 95% of all presented clinical cases have been shown to be primary. This means that these cases are defined as high blood pressure as a result of non-specific lifestyle and genetic factors. Excess intake of table salt, smoking, obesity, alcohol abuse and lack of exercise as well as sleep deprivation to some extent, as well as other nonspecific lifestyle engagements which include drug overdose, all predispose or increase the risk of an individual developing hypertension. The good thing about the above mentioned factors is that they can be avoided by an individual if they adopt a mandate of setting a precedence of self control over everything else. The remaining 5–10% of cases are categorized as secondary high blood pressure, defined as high blood pressure due to an identifiable cause, such as chronic kidney disease, narrowing of the renal afferent arteries, compromised function of the endocrine system, or even the use of birth control pills especially seen among young people. Even the best of things which are important for life should be done in moderation in order to avoid the onset of adverse effects brought into play by hypertension. The unfair part of hypertension is that it can be congenital in which case an individual has an inborn error of weakened arteries and thus a greater chance of being invaded by high blood pressure.
Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. A few people with high blood pressure may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds, but these signs and symptoms are not specific since they are cardinal symptoms for many other disease and in this case they usually do not occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage and at that stage hypertension can go on unabated to produce deleterious complications which can be life threatening and even lethal as such as not very nice for an individual to have especially if hypertension is untreated. As a flag raiser and in order to reduce and possibly treat the complications of hypertension as early as possible, it is vital crucial and recommendable to say that all healthy individuals who are at least 18 years old should embark on a journey of regular blood pressure check ups at least every two years. For those who are aged 40 years and older and all those, though below 40 years of age, with a high risk of high blood pressure, like diabetes should do a blood pressure reading every year.
If already diagnosed with or at risk of acquiring hypertension it is absolutely good to take the prescribed drugs as advised by the physician if any and to seek as much information as possible to understand more and possibly educate others on how this non communicable condition can be managed and prevented if possible to promote a good living environment ideal for human habitation. Eating a varied plant-based diet in adequate proportions in the form of whole grains, vegetables and fruits as well as drinking enough water can lesson the morbidity and mortality associated with hypertension and its complications. This is most effective if it is done in conjunction with prevention of consumption of foods rich in animal fat and avoidance of refined foods produced by most a food industry of this time and age. Also, putting on the amour of regular exercise and sleeping adequately can spare an individual from the adverse effects of the condition since it is mostly acquired as a result of lifestyle habits than of genetic predisposition. Making a lifestyle change to primarily avoid and secondarily manage this condition and its complications can elongate life.