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High blood pressure: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

High blood pressure, medically known as hypertension, has become one of the most significant risks of heart disease at present. It is known as “the silent enemy” because, in most cases, there are no symptoms of this condition, which, however, can be the trigger for heart attacks, heart failure, or strokes. Being aware of the risk factors that increase our possibility of suffering from high blood pressure, knowing some of its signs and the appropriate way to treat this condition to reduce risks of circulatory or heart problems, is essential to maintain our health. In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain high blood pressure’s causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Causes and risk factors of high blood pressure

High blood pressure has become a global health problem that has increased in recent decades due mainly to the worldwide increase in cases of obesity and physical inactivity increased. However, there are various causes and risk factors for this condition. Some can be modified and others not.

Non-modifiable causes of hypertension

  • Genetic factors: there may be a greater genetic propensity to suffer from high blood pressure if a direct relative has this condition. In these cases, prevention must be increased.
  • Age: as we age, the chances of suffering from this condition increase.
  • Sex: men over 40 years of age are more likely to suffer from this condition; however, once women reach menopause, they tend to develop hypertension.
  • Race: This condition is more common in African Americans and black people.

Causes of hypertension that can be modified

  • Being overweight or obese: being above the recommended weight significantly increases the chances of suffering from high blood pressure, which increases as the person ages and eating habits do not change.
  • Eat a diet high in salt and fat: diets rich in sodium and cholesterol, regardless of being overweight, contribute to increased stress.
  • Being sedentary: the absence of physical activity affects our heart, also influencing our blood pressure levels.
  • Be a smoker
  • Excessive drinking.

Additionally, patients with diabetes or various kidney problems are more likely to develop high blood pressure.

Symptoms of high blood pressure

The main problem with high blood pressure, and the reason why it is known as “the silent enemy,” is the fact that this condition does not usually present symptoms, so many times, the patient does not discover its existence until a general medical check-up is not performed or there is any health complication derived from this condition.

In some cases, high blood pressure can cause headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, or weakness. However, because these signs can appear sporadically or isolated, most patients do not associate them with this condition.

The best way to determine the state of blood pressure and our general health is to carry out a complete annual check-up that includes the measurement of stress, especially in the case of men over 40 years of age, women in menopause, or people who have risk factors such as genetic propensity or obesity.

Risks of having high blood pressure

Although high blood pressure often does not present symptoms or signs, it is a condition that puts our health at serious risk, increasing the possibility of suffering from problems such as:

  • Heart attacks and strokes favor the thickening of the arteries and the narrowing of the channel through which the blood circulates.
  • Heart failure because this condition can make the heart work harder, requiring more oxygen and increasing to its original size, leading to tiredness and fatigue.
  • Increased risk of kidney disease.
  • Increased risk of glaucoma, which consists of increased pressure in the eye, or that the capillaries in the retina break, leading to vision problems and even blindness.

Treatment for high blood pressure

The first step taken when treating high blood pressure is to make a profound change in diet and lifestyle. Only then can tension effectively be reduced. That is why it is recommended:

  • Reduce salt intake in meals. Instead, you can season foods with spices that do not contain sodium.
  • All foods rich in salts such as cold cuts, prepared meals, commercial dressings, salty snacks, commercial condiments, packaged soups, or pickles should be eliminated from the diet.
  • It is also essential to moderate the consumption of fatty foods, sugars, and sweets, ensuring a healthier and more balanced diet.
  • Consult a nutritionist and follow a diet in the case of overweight and obese patients. Losing weight will notably favor general health and reduce hypertension.
  • Increasing your intake of vegetables and fruits will go a long way toward establishing a healthy diet. It is recommended to eat lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and some beef or pork cuts and consume fresh fish.
  • If you smoke, it is recommended to stop this habit. In the same way, it is essential to reduce alcohol intake to a minimum.
  • In addition, it is essential to perform physical activity frequently, which will help in weight loss and favor a reduction in blood pressure and better heart health.

Additionally, and when the change of habits is not entirely adequate or in those cases in which blood pressure puts the patient’s well-being in great danger, the intake of medication can be prescribed to treat this problem. However, it is essential to be clear that lifestyle changes must also be made to ensure the patient’s well-being.

Prevent high blood pressure

Leading a healthy life and a balanced diet is best to prevent hypertension and other health problems. For this reason, it is recommended to avoid overweight and obesity and, if you suffer from it, to carry out a diet to lose weight.

Avoiding processed foods, prepared or high-fat meals, junk food, salty snacks, and excess salt in foods is essential for maintaining a good blood pressure level. In the same way, it is advisable to eat fresh food and do physical exercise at least three times a week.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to High blood pressure: causes, symptoms, and treatment, we recommend entering our category of Blood, heart, and circulation.

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