HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
You may be surprised if your doctor says you have high blood pressure because it does not cause symptoms and you can have it even though you feel fine. But high blood pressure is a serious condition that can lead to stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, and other health problems. The good news is that there are simple ways to control it.
What causes high blood pressure?
In 90-95 percent of the cases of high blood pressure, the cause is unknown. This type of high blood pressure is called essential hypertension . Fortunately, even though scientists don't fully understand the causes of high blood pressure, they've developed drugs that are effective over the long term in treating this disease.
In the remaining cases, high blood pressure is a symptom of a recognisable underlying problem such as a kidney abnormality, tumour of the adrenal gland or congenital defect of the aorta This kind of high blood pressure is often cured once the original medical problem is cured. This type of high blood pressure is called secondary hypertension.
Doctors think that many things combine to cause high blood pressure. Being overweight, drinking too much alcohol, and eating too much salt are risk factors because they raise your risk of having high blood pressure. They do not cause it directly.
Blood pressure goes up in all people during periods of stress or exercise. But avoiding stress will not prevent high blood pressure. You can have HBP even though you are usually a calm, relaxed person.
Testing for blood pressure
To test blood pressure, a doctor or nurse places a cuff around your arm above the elbow, pumps air into the cuff, and then reads the measurements as the air is let out. The test is painless and takes only a few minutes.
Your blood pressure measurement may be taken several times. If your blood pressure is high the first day, the doctor will want measurements from different days before deciding whether you really have high blood pressure. These steps are needed because blood pressure changes so quickly. It is also affected by many things, including the normal feelings of worry during a visit to the doctor.
Because high blood pressure is so common, everyone should have his or her blood pressure tested once a year.
Blood pressure readings are given in two numbers. Although the average blood pressure reading for adults is 120/80, a slightly higher or lower reading (for either number) may not be a problem. If blood pressure goes above 140/90, however, some form of treatment diet or drugs may be needed. Lower blood pressure readings (for example, 110/70) are thought to be safe for most people.
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