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Hypertension 
(High Blood Pressure)

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in the arteries. If this pressure is abnormally high on a continuous basis, it is called hypertension.

Blood pressure varies with certain factors and lifestyles like aggravating stress, anxiety, emotional changes and physical strain. Hypertension has been linked to hereditary causes due to genetic factors and obesity, sedentary lifestyles and lack of exercise.

Blood pressure is calculated in millimeters of mercury or mmhg.  Hypertension occurs when systolic pressure measures 140 mmhg or more and diastolic pressure measures 90 mmhg or more.

The circulatory system in the body is a closed system.  The pressure constantly varies with each contraction of the heart.  Systolic pressure is when blood is pumped out of the heart.  When the heart relaxes to allow the chambers in the heart to fill with blood, this is called diastolic pressure.   

With continuous high blood pressure, the arteries are damaged and become less elastic and more rigid.  Arteries also narrow with the accumulation of plaque.  Plaque buildup occurs from a diet high in fats and protein.  When these fats flow through the circulatory system, a build up occurs and narrows the blood vessel.  Blood pressure increases to push the blood past the narrowing.  When the artery is completely blocked, it can lead to a heart attack. 

Continuous high blood pressure or hypertension can lead to many serious health complications which may affect the brain, eyes, kidney and arteries.   Some people experience nose bleeds, fatigue and dizziness with continuous exposure to high blood pressure.

In order to assess high blood pressure, it is measured many times on different occasions to get an accurate reading or assessment of hypertension.  Some people have experienced “the white coat syndrome” where their blood pressure increases while at the doctor’s office.  Home blood pressure kits are ideal for such people.  They can keep track of their blood pressure and present their physician with the readings taken over time and in a more relaxed environment. 

Regular medical checkups and blood tests are usually done to discover hypertension in its early stages.  Medication, exercise and proper diet help in keeping hypertension control.

 

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