High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common medical condition affecting millions of people worldwide. Hypertension occurs when the pressure exerted on the arterial walls by blood flow is consistently higher than normal. Blood pressure readings include systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), with a healthy individual’s reading being ≤120/80 mmHg. According to the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guideline, a reading of ≥130/80 mm Hg is considered hypertension.
The effects of hypertension on health can be severe and may affect the heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. The higher the BP levels, the greater the risk of developing health issues such as cardiovascular diseases, myocardial infarction, and stroke. High blood pressure can also cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, resulting in the death of brain cells, causing a stroke and associated disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities.
There are two types of hypertension: primary or essential hypertension and secondary hypertension. Primary hypertension refers to hypertension without a specific known cause, and it is observed in 95% of all cases of hypertension. Secondary hypertension is usually the result of medical issues such as kidney or hormonal disorders or due to the use of certain medications.
Hypertension has various risk factors such as family history, medical history, drugs, age, gender, ethnicity, diet, lifestyle habits, cholesterol levels, pregnancy, inadequate sleep, stress, personality type, and presence of viral infections. Treatment and management of hypertension may involve lifestyle changes such as alcohol and diet changes, regular exercise, and blood pressure drugs.
In conclusion, hypertension can have a severe impact on health, and timely diagnosis and management are crucial. People with hypertension are encouraged to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and to create an individualized treatment plan.