Hypertension has become so widespread that people often forget how serious the condition really is. In the United States alone, 70 million adults suffer from the condition. This is equal to roughly 40% of adults over the age of 25.
The number of people living with high blood pressure is predicted to reach 1.56 billion worldwide by the year 2025.
Currently, hypertension is the leading risk of death and disability worldwide .
Additionally, hypertension is responsible for up to 50% of deaths from heart disease and stroke and is a direct cause of kidney disease and kidney failure.
Blood pressure exhibits two different pressures when measured:
- Systolic pressure – The blood pressure when the heart beats as it pumps blood
- Diastolic pressure – The blood pressure between beats; when the heart is resting
Here are the blood pressure ranges:
- Normal: Lower than 120/80
- Prehypertension: 120–139/80–89
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140–159/90–99
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above
Warning signs for very high blood include headaches, nosebleeds, chest pains, ear noise, vision changes, and confusion.
It is imperative that you always keep your blood pressure in check. This is because at the age of 50, individuals with normal blood pressure have a longer life expectancy (by over 5 years) than those with high blood pressure.
Complications of Hypertension
High blood pressure raises your risk for grave conditions such as:
- Memory issues: High blood pressure affects your ability to think, learn, and remember.
- Chronic heart failure: 70% of individuals with chronic heart failure suffer from high blood pressure.
- Eye complications: High blood pressure results in narrowed, thickened, and torn blood vessels in the eyes. Hence, it can lead to loss of vision.
- Aneyrism: High blood pressure leads to bulging and weakening of your blood vessels. This causes aneyrism rupture, which is life-threatening.
- First stroke: Virtually 70% of individuals have hypertension when they experience their first heart attack.
- Metabolic syndrome: This is a combination of at least three of the following issues: abdominal obesity, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or low HDL (good) cholesterol. The risk of metabolic syndrome increases with increase in blood pressure symptoms.
High Blood Pressure v/s Low Blood Pressure
Generally, the risk of low blood pressure and high blood pressure increases with age.
Here are some significant facts about high blood pressure that you need to know:
- Prehypertension is a blood pressure that’s unusually higher, but not yet in the high blood pressure bracket.
- About 70 million people in the U.S. have high blood pressure.
- Only 52% of people with high blood pressure have the condition under control.
- High blood pressure costs the United States about $64 billions every year.
Here are a few stats that you need to know about low blood pressure:
- Accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels reduces blood flow to the brain and heart muscle.
- A sudden fall of blood pressure deprives the brain of sufficient blood supply. This can result in dizziness and lightheadedness.
- Approximately 10% – 20% of individuals aged above 65 suffer from postural hypertension.
- Chronic low blood pressure with no significant symptoms is usually never serious.
You need to take Low blood pressure seriously if you notice these symptoms:
- Dehydration and abnormal thirst
- Cold, clammy, pale skin
- Poor concentration
- Blurred vision
Low blood pressure often occurs with:
- Decrease in blood volume
- Prolonged bed rest
- Some medications, like diuretics, beta blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, erectile dysfunction drugs, drugs for Parkinson’s disease, narcotics and alcohol.
- Heart complications
- Severe infection (septic shock)
- Neurally mediated hypertension
- Endocrine problems
- Allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
- Nutritional deficiencies – For instance, lack of folic acid and vitamin B12 can cause anemia, leading to low blood pressure.
Foods That Worsen High Blood Pressure Symptoms
- Sugar – According to several studies, high sugar consumption increases the risk of high blood pressure.
- High sodium foods – You should eliminate high sodium processed and canned foods from your diet.
- Alcohol- Alcohol narrows your arteries, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, and hence you need to reduce your intake or avoid it altogether.
- Caffeine- If you’ve high blood pressure, consider reducing your caffeine intake as it raises blood pressure.
- Trans fats and omega 6-fats- These increase inflammation and blood pressure. They are common in packaged foods.