What is High Blood Pressure

What is High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, happens when blood pressure rises to unhealthy levels. Measuring blood pressure takes into account the amount of blood going through blood vessels and how much resistance the blood meets while the heart is pumping. One thing that increases resistance is narrow arteries. The blood pressure will be higher, the narrower the arteries are. If left for a long time, increased pressure can cause health issues, including heart disease. High blood pressure is reasonably common, affecting around 1.13 billion people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation. In fact, since the guidelines have recently changed, it’s expected that almost half of all American adults will now be diagnosed with this condition.

Hypertension usually takes several years to develop. It also comes with no noticeable symptoms most of the time. However it still can cause a lot of damage to blood vessels and organs, particularly your kidneys, eyes, heart and brain. 

It is important to identify this condition as early on as possible. This can be done using regular blood pressure reading which can help you and your doctor to notice if and when there are any changes. 

If when checked your blood pressure appears to be elevated, your doctor may want to keep checking your blood pressure over the period of a few weeks to see if it stays elevated or drops back down to normal levels. 

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Treating hypertension can be done with prescription medication and healthy lifestyle changes. Acupuncture may also be a great option for treating high blood pressure as it is effective and has no risks and side effects that come with western medications. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to health issues and even heart attack and stroke.  

What causes high blood pressure?

There are different causes for each type of hypertension. The two types are primary hypertension and secondary hypertension. Here is a bit about the causes for each:

Primary hypertension

Primary hypertension, also called essential hypertension, develops over time and has no identifiable cause. This is the most common type of hypertension.

It is still unclear to researchers exactly which mechanisms are responsible for causing blood pressure to slowly increase. It is thought that a combination of factors may contribute. These could include:

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  • Genes: Some people are genetically predisposed to hypertension. This means they could simply have hypertension because of gene mutations or genetic abnormalities inherited from their parents.
  • Physical changes: If your body changes in some way, this may cause you to experience other issues as well. One of those issues could be high blood pressure. For example, it’s thought that changes in the function of your kidneys from ageing could upset the natural balance of salts and fluid in your body. This change may cause your body’s blood pressure to increase.
  • Environment: Unhealthy lifestyle choices like lack of physical activity and poor diet can take their toll on your body, especially over a long period of time. These lifestyle choices can also lead to weight problems. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for high blood pressure. Being generally unhealthy can also put you at more risk of developing issues like hypertension.  

Secondary hypertension

Secondary hypertension will often occur more quickly and can become more severe than primary hypertension. There are several conditions that may be the cause of secondary hypertension. These include:

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