Hypertension or High Blood pressure is a condition in which there is higher than normal pressure in the arteries of the body. It is a risk factor for several problems like coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, kidney failure. According to new guidelines, every 1 out of 3 adults over age of 20 has high Blood pressure.
What is Blood Pressure?
Heart pumps blood to the body via blood vessels called arteries. Blood Pressure is the force which blood exerts on the walls of the arteries of the body. There are two values in the blood pressure – the top number called systolic blood pressure (when heart pumps blood) and bottom number called diastolic blood Pressure.
Blood Pressure is measured in mm Hg. The normal blood pressure is 120/80 or less.
What is High Blood pressure?
The High Blood pressure used to be defined as more than 140/80 but according to new guidelines published by American Heart Association in November 2017, pressure over 130/80 is now considered as High Blood pressure.
Stages of Hypertension
- Normal BP: Less than 120/80 mm Hg.
- Elevated BP: Systolic between 120-139 and diastolic less than 80
- Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89
- Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90
When Should I start getting BP checked?
USPTF (US Preventive Task Force) recommends BP check starting at age of 18 years.
- If you have risk factors for developing Hypertension, then BP should be checked at least once a year
- If No risk factors for hypertension, then every 3-5 years for adults between 18 and 40 years old.
Risk factors for Hypertension
Most of the time there is no single reason leading to Hypertension. There are several factors which increase the risk of Hypertension
- Older Age
- Family history of hypertension
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Physical or mental stress
- High Salt Diet
- Smoking and Alcohol Intake
- Medical Diseases like Diabetes, Thyroid problems.
- Body Pain
Types of Hypertension
Essential Hypertension: When there is no underlying cause. This is the most common type.
Secondary Hypertension: When BP is high due to another medical problem like hormone imbalance, blockage in kidney arteries (Renal artery stenosis) etc.
Symptoms of Hypertension
Hypertension is also called silent Killer as it usually does not cause any symptoms. Some people may experience symptoms like