What does hypertension mean?
Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. Now just having high blood pressure randomly does not count as hypertension, your blood pressure needs to be higher consistently when measured. There is a 10 mm Hg threshold however where if someone falls within this normal range they are considered to be elevated and at risk for hypertension but not having the condition itself.
Why is hypertension called the silent killer?
Hypertension is considered a silent killer since it is often undetected or unmonitored. Yes, blood pressure cuffs can be used to track one’s blood pressure but often individuals don’t pay it much mind. Furthermore, symptoms often don’t appear until the condition is critical.
Are Hypertension and Blood Pressure the same?
They are not the same. Blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure your circulating blood has against the wall of blood vessels. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure exerted when blood is ejected into arteries while diastolic blood pressure is the pressure exerted within arteries between heartbeats. Furthermore, the two types of common blood pressure conditions are hypertension and hypotension. As mentioned before hypertension is when your blood pressure is too high while hypotension is when your blood pressure is too low which can create its own issues.
How is Hypertension diagnosed?
Hypertension is diagnosed via recorded blood pressure levels. Per the CDC normal blood pressure for an adult is close to 120 mm Hg systolic and 80 mm Hg diastolic. If the measurement is in the 120 to 139 mm Hg systolic and 80-89 mm Hg range the blood pressure is considered elevated and at risk for hypertension. Finally, if an individual has a consistent blood pressure reading of 140 mm Hg systolic and 90 mm Hg diastolic they are considered to have hypertension. Proper diagnosis will come from a medical professional.
What causes hypertension?
The causes are a variety of effects over time. Things such as unhealthy lifestyle choices and other medical conditions can lead to the development of hypertension. Living a sedimentary lifestyle and eating unhealthy are two common and controllable causes of high blood pressure.
Where does hypertension occur?
Hypertension occurs thought the body, anywhere there are blood vessels. However, the damage caused by high blood pressure often affects more than just the arteries. It can also damage the heart, brain, kidneys, and even eyes.
How does Hypertension affect the body?
There are a few different ways hypertension can affect the body. First arteries can be damaged and impacted by high blood pressure which causes them to “have trouble supplying blood to the heart” resulting in “chest pain, irregular heart rhythms or a heart attack”(Mayo Clinic, 2022). Next, the increased difficulty moving blood forces “the heart to work harder to pump blood to the rest of the body” which “causes the lower left heart chamber to thicken”(Mayo Clinic, 2022). A thickened ventricle will increase your risk of things such as heart attacks, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death.
Next high blood pressure can affect the brain. “Studies suggest that high blood pressure can lead to mild cognitive impairment” stronger than what is typically experienced in old age (Mayo Clinic, 2022). In more serious cases “narrowed or blocked arteries can limit blood flow to the brain” leading to vascular dementia (Mayo Clinic, 2022). Hypertension can also affect the brain when damaged blood vessels “narrow, rupture or leak” resulting in brain cells losing oxygen and nutrients and therefore causing a stroke (Mayo Clinic, 2022). This can also happen when blood clots form in the arteries near the brain. Finally, it can cause a transient ischemic attack which is a “brief, temporary disruption of blood supply to the brain” (Mayo Clinic, 2022). This is often caused by hardened arteries or blood clots.
When it comes to your kidneys there are two different kidney conditions caused by high blood pressure. The first is kidney scarring which is when “tiny blood vessels within the kidney become scared and unable to effectively filter fluid and waste for the blood” (Mayo Clinic, 2022). This often leads to the second condition kidney failure of which high blood pressure is one of the most common causes. The “damaged blood vessels prevent kidneys from effectively filtering waste from the blood, allowing dangerous levels of fluid and water to collect”.
Finally, high blood pressure can cause damage to your eyes. Hypertension can cause “damage to the blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye” which can lead to “bleeding in the eye, blurred vision, and complete loss of vision” (Mayo Clinic, 2022). High blood pressure can also lead to fluid build-up under the retina often called choroidopathy. This can result in distorted vision and scarring of the retina. Finally “blocked blood flow can damage the optic nerve” leading to bleeding in the eye or vision loss.
When is hypertension dangerous?
Hypertension can be dangerous at any time if not handled properly and changes are not made to your lifestyle. However, the higher the blood pressure the more dangerous it can become, and if your blood pressure ever reads over 180/110 you must seek medical attention right away since this is considered a hypertensive crisis.
Can hypertension be cured?
There is currently no cure for hypertension however steps can be taken to lower your blood pressure over time. These include lifestyle changes, medication, and other controllable factors that often result in high blood pressure. This is more effective when done early and with more mild cases. We have created a list of these steps for your convince in a handy guide. Just click the button below.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, January 14). How high blood pressure can affect the body. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved June 23, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045868#:~:text=High%20blood%20pressure%20forces%20the,failure%20and%20sudden%20cardiac%20death.