Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a medical condition characterized by elevated and sustained pressure in the arteries. Hypertension occurs when blood pressure consistently remains at or above 130/80 mmHg. It’s an important health concern because high blood pressure can strain the arteries, heart, and other organs, potentially leading to serious health complications if left untreated.
There are two main types of hypertension:
- Primary (essential) hypertension: This is the most common type of hypertension, and its exact cause is often not identifiable. It develops gradually over time and is influenced by factors such as genetics, age, diet, lifestyle, and other environmental factors.
- Secondary hypertension: This type of hypertension is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as kidney disease, hormonal disorders, or medication side effects.
Hypertension is often referred to as a “silent killer” because it typically doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms in its early stages. However, over time, untreated high blood pressure can contribute to serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and more.
Managing hypertension usually involves a combination of lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication. Lifestyle changes may include adopting a healthy diet (such as the DASH diet), engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, reducing sodium intake, and managing stress.
Regular blood pressure checks and consultations with a healthcare professional are essential for monitoring and managing hypertension effectively. If you suspect you have high blood pressure or have been diagnosed with it, it’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations to prevent complications and maintain your overall health.