Awareness about high blood pressure is very important for the simple reason that the condition is very prevalent. And correspondingly there is a very high likelihood that you or a loved one may be afflicted by hypertension, or may come to be afflicted by the disorder at some time in the future.
Some facts about hypertension, relating to its prevalence could take us by surprise.
1. In US, nearly one in three people are afflicted by hypertension.
2. And only half of these people have the condition under control.
Alternately, hypertension is very often related to certain health disorders. It is very surprising to note that out of every 10 people who have their first heart attack, 7 are afflicted by hypertension. And with stroke as well, it is a similar scenario. Out of every 10 people who suffer from their first stroke, 8 are afflicted by hypertension.
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension and high blood pressure are two terms that are very often used interchangeably. In slightly technical terms, when an individual suffers from hypertension, the force of the blood against the artery walls could be high when seen in the long term. Or it could be high enough to cause any sort of health related issues.
Two factors which define the blood pressure of an individual are the amount of blood which is pumped by the heart, and the resistance to blood flow which is provided in the arteries. So if someone's heart pumps more blood and the arteries are narrower, the blood pressure is said to be high.
A very surprising fact about hypertension is that one could suffer from high blood pressure for years and not be aware of it. But the damage to blood vessels and the heart is continuous. And it could be detected as well.
So it is highly recommendable to go for regular health checkups and screenings for high blood pressure.
When is it that I need to be concerned about hypertension?
Preferably, one must make hypertension checks a part of routine appointments with the doctor. As a norm, one must try and make sure that one goes for high blood pressure readings once every two years, starting right from the time one is 18. Similarly if one is above the age of 40, or if one is in the age group of 18-39 with a risk of high blood pressure, one must go for these readings every year.
That way, as soon as one comes to realize that one has been suffering from hypertension, one could work along with one's doctor towards controlling the same.
What makes one vulnerable towards hypertension?
Some people are more at a risk of suffering from hypertension, and it is interesting to know more about the factors that make one more vulnerable to hypertension.
- As one ages, the risk of high blood pressure increases as well. So for men, if they are above 45 years of age, they are at a higher risk of suffering from hypertension. Similarly, if women are over 65 years of age, they are equally at the risk of suffering from hypertension.
2. Family History
- Similarly, if one has a family history of hypertension, one is more likely to suffer from the same.
- And being overweight also makes one more vulnerable towards suffering from hypertension because if one is overweight, more blood needs to be pumped for supply to blood vessels.
4. Not Being Physically Active
- If one is not physically active, the risk of contracting hypertension increases because the heart is required to pump harder, and this makes the force on arteries higher as well.
5. Tobacco Consumption
- Tobacco consumption too is related with high blood pressure. Not only does tobacco increases the heart rate with immediate effect, but it also increases the risk of damage to the arteries.
6. Excessive Consumption Of Salt
- Consumption of too much salt in one's diet causes the body to retain water, and this too can increase the blood pressure. In the same regard, it is very important for one to get the right amount of potassium in one's diet, and that is because potassium balances the sodium in one's body. When one does not get the right amount of potassium in one's diet, one tends to accumulate too much sodium in the blood.
7. Right Amount Of Vitamin D In One's Diet
- One needs to take care that one gets the right amount of Vitamin D in one's diet. Vitamin D can affect an enzyme produced by the kidneys, and that can have a direct influence on the blood pressure. Mushroom, eggs and dairy products are some good sources of Vitamin D.
- High stress levels too are attributed to a temporary increase in the blood pressure. If one tries to beat the stress by use of tobacco, alcohol or a high diet, this may work towards aggravating the condition.
9. Chronic Conditions
- If one suffers from certain chronic condition, these too might aggravate the risk of high blood pressure. Some of such conditions are kidney disease, diabetes and sleep apnea.