Chronic high blood pressure is also known as hypertension. It is one of the most common health problems globally, and it is a leading cause of kidney disease, stroke, and heart attack. Despite being one of the most widespread disorders, hypertension barely shows any early symptoms. A person may have high blood pressure for years without experiencing any symptoms, which makes it difficult to make an early diagnosis.
Due to delayed diagnosis, the damage is already done to the heart and blood vessels. This is why many people with hypertension tend to develop many health complications such as stroke and heart attack. Read on to know more about hypertension.
- Essential or primary hypertension: This type of hypertension occurs due to a number of factors, including environmental factors such as lack of exercise and stress. Other causes include blood plasma volume and hormonal activities that regulate blood pressure and blood volume.
- Secondary hypertension: This type of hypertension arises due to lifestyle habits and preexisting medical conditions. These can include heart diseases, disorders related to the arteries, kidney diseases, and endocrine system disorder.
There is no exact cause of hypertension. However, several factors contribute to high blood pressure. These include smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, lack of physical activities, and stress. A person who prefers to have too much salt in their diet can be highly susceptible to hypertension. Genetics and family history of high blood pressure also play an important role in the occurrence of hypertension. Chronic kidney disease, sleep apnea, adrenal disorders, and thyroid disorders are other causes of hypertension. Long-term sleep deprivation has been known to increase blood pressure. Old age also brings about a risk of getting hypertension. People above the age of 44 are more prone to high blood pressure.
The intake of certain medications can also bring about hypertension. This includes a combination of oral contraceptive pills, steroid medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, over-the-counter cough and cold medications, and antidepressants. Herbal remedies that contain licorice can also cause high blood pressure.
Usually, there are no early signs of hypertension. High blood pressure is diagnosed only in a doctor’s office after measuring the blood pressure. Often, symptoms that occur are momentary and can happen due to multiple factors. These include the intake of medications and the patient’s present stress levels. The symptoms do not last for a long time and tend to recur. Such symptoms include recurrent headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Some people with hypertension are prone to nosebleeds. However, frequent nosebleeds might not be a sign of hypertension.
In the case of extremely high blood pressure, there can be more apparent symptoms. These symptoms can be observed if there is a sudden rise in blood pressure. Symptoms may include blurry vision, vision changes and disturbances, throbbing headaches, vertigo, loss of appetite, vomiting, and nausea.
If hypertension is left untreated, it will lead to a number of complications that include organ damage as well. In rare cases, a person may also have a hypertensive emergency. This occurs when the blood pressure is above 180 mm Hg, or if the diastolic pressure is greater than 120 mm Hg. The symptoms include chest pain, fainting, confusion, irregular heart rate, anxiety, and shortness of breath.
An aneurysm is another complication that can arise from undiagnosed and untreated hypertension. In an aneurysm, a bulge develops in the wall of an artery. Aneurysms can develop in the kidneys, aorta, and the brain. A sudden rise in the blood pressure can cause an aneurysm to rupture, which can be fatal.
Other complications include vascular disease, heart disease, kidney failure, and respiratory diseases.