Hypertension or high blood pressure is probably the most common health problem in developed countries. In most cases, no prominent symptoms are found during the initial stages. High blood pressure relates to increased pressure in the arteries.
Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to all the body cells. Though emotional stress can lead to increased tension within the arteries, it is not the lone cause of high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure should be below 120/80. Blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called as “pre-hypertension”, and a blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered high.
The top number (Systolic blood pressure) refers to the pressure in the arteries as the contraction of the heart takes place. The bottom number (Diastolic pressure) relates to the pressure formed in the arteries as the heart is relaxed after contraction. This is considered to be the lowest pressure faced by the arteries.
An elevated blood pressure makes a person more prone to cardiac disorders, renal failures, eye damage and stroke. Hardening of the arterial wall is also likely as a result of fluctuations in the blood pressure level. The diagnosis of high blood pressure is extremely important in order to save the person from further complications. If left untreated, hypertension might turn out to be fatal.
In most cases, doctors fail to point out a particular reason for increased blood pressure level. Increased peripheral artery resistance results in hypertension. Genetic factors play a major role in this process. Hypertension often runs within families. Increased intake of salt, obesity, lack of proper exercise etc also lead to an increase in blood pressure level.
In some patients, a definite reason leads to hypertension. Such a situation is termed as secondary hypertension. In people suffering from chronic kidney disease, excessive fluid accumulation in the body results in elevated blood pressure. Narrowing of the arteries also result in mounted pressure within its walls. The intake of oral contraceptive pills containing the Estrogen also lead to hypertension.