Hypertension refers to the medical condition of constant high blood pressure in the arteries. The higher is the blood pressure, the more difficult it is for the heart to pump blood to different organs of the body. Normal blood pressure is below the limit 120/80, which is a systolic/diastolic measurement. Systolic pressure means maximum pressure in the arteries and diastolic pressure refers to the minimal arterial pressure. Blood pressure that is in the range between 120/80 and 139/89 is known as the prehypertension stage. When the blood pressure crosses the threshold of 140/90, the stage is known as hypertension. It should be noted that many people with hypertension, are not even aware of the fact that they are suffering from high blood pressure. Symptoms of hypertension include headaches, fatigue, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, breathing problems, eyesight problems, nausea, and in extreme cases, blood in the urine.
There are several reasons that act behind such uncontrollable blood pressure. According to causes, the situation is classified into essential and secondary. Essential hypertension is caused due to no specific reasons and it accounts for about 95 percent of the total registered cases of hypertension. Secondary hypertension is the one, where a known direct cause is present. Known causes include the following.
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Intake of birth control pills in women
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Chronic kidney ailment
- Insufficient calcium, potassium and magnesium consumption
- Excess Sodium consumption or sodium sensitivity
- Hereditary disease
Long-term health effects of hypertension
Hypertension can damage the body in many ways. It can affect the arteries in general, the heart, the kidneys, the brain, the eye, bone loss, erratic sleep and even sexual dysfunction. Presented here are the various ways by which hypertension can affect your body. To prevent these from happening, you should undergo regular blood pressure tests so that the problem can be diagnosed and treated early on.
• Damage to arteries
High blood pressure can damage the inner smooth wall of your arteries causing the hardening of the arteries, a condition known as arteriosclerosis. These damaged cells of the arteries can collect fat from your diet, thereby causing blockage of the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis together can cause arterial blockage in any portion of the body, leading to heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, eye damage, blocked arteries and aneurysms. Aneurysm is a particular condition where the walls of the weakened artery may bulge and cause life threatening internal rupture of arteries.
• Heart damage
Hypertension can affect the heart in a number of ways, leading to serious problems like heart failure of coronary artery disease. Coronary heart disease refers to the condition where the arteries supplying blood to the heart are affected, thereby causing malfunctioning of the heart. The problems may include chest pain (angina) or irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias. Constant high blood pressure can cause the left heart to enlarge. As the left ventricle has to work harder to reach blood to all parts of the body, over time it may get enlarged. This further adds to the damage to the heart caused by hypertension.
• Brain damage
Hypertension may have some serious long term effects on the brain. This happens when the brain not receive proper blood supply, as the arteries are blocked due to hypertension. A ministroke or a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) to the brain is a condition of temporary disruption of blood supply to the brain due to atherosclerosis. The TIA is a warning sign that you are facing the risk of a major stroke. A stroke happens when the blood supply to a portion of the brain is inhibited, and the brain cells die devoid of oxygen and nutrients. Dementia is a neurological problem where the brain cannot remember or perform the activities of reasoning, speaking, thinking, vision and movement.
• Kidney damage
Hypertension can adversely affect the kidney. In case of hypertension with diabetes, the problem worsens. Hypertension can cause kidney failure, kidney scarring and kidney artery aneurysm.
• Damage to the eyes
Hypertension can also affect the eye. Damages may include retinopathy or damage of eye blood vessels, chloridopathy or accumulation of fluid in the retina and optic neuropathy or nerve damage.
• Sexual dysfunction in men and women
Our sex organs are dependent on blood flow to them to stay active. Sexual dysfunction can occur in both men and women. While men may face the problem of having and maintaining an erection, women may suffer from dryness of the vagina or an inability to achieve orgasm.
About Author: Mark Sanchez is an experienced writer and has been writing on various topics like diabetes, weight loss, nutrition, fitness, beauty, skin care, Liposomal Vitamin C, skin care and more. He is also a regular contributor in JG Supplements.