You may have heard “hypertension” before, but what does it mean? Simply put, hypertension is when your blood pressure is higher than usual. While this may not seem like a big deal at first, hypertension can lead to some serious health complications down the road if it’s not managed correctly. So let’s take a closer look at hypertension, how it works, and how it can affect your life.
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension occurs when the force of your blood against your artery walls is too high. This increased force can damage your arteries over time. Your arteries are responsible for carrying blood from your heart to the rest of your body. If they become damaged, it can lead to some severe health problems. Almost half of the entire population in the U.S. has this disease, which entirely affects their way of life.
There are two types of hypertension: primary hypertension and secondary hypertension. Primary hypertension is the most common type and develops gradually over time. Secondary hypertension happens when another condition or medication causes your blood pressure to rise.
How Does Hypertension Work?
Your blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries are, the higher your blood pressure will be.
Several things can contribute to high blood pressure. Here are five of them.
It’s estimated that about 30 million Americans smoke, and 16 million have a related disease. Smoking leads to hypertension because it narrows your arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through them. In addition, it increases the force against your artery walls, damaging them over time.
If you’re obese or overweight, you’re more likely to develop hypertension. It’s because excess weight puts strain on your heart and arteries. The extra weight also makes it more difficult for your body to process sugar, leading to diabetes.
Speaking of sugar, if you have diabetes, you’re also at a higher risk for developing hypertension. It’s because high blood sugar levels can damage your arteries and lead to inflammation.
If you have a family member with hypertension, you’re more likely to develop it yourself. This is because the condition can be genetic.
Finally, stress can contribute to hypertension. When stressed, your body releases hormones constricting your arteries and increasing your heart rate. It leads to higher blood pressure.
How Can Hypertension Affect My Life?
If left untreated, hypertension can lead to some severe health problems. Here are some of those health problems.
The most common health problem that is related to hypertension is heart disease. This disease happens when your arteries narrow and harden, making it difficult for blood to flow through them. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Heart disease is avoidable, especially if you know that you have hypertension, so make sure to get your heart checked if you have this disease.
Hypertension can also lead to kidney disease. This happens when the arteries in your kidneys become narrowed or blocked, causing them to work less efficiently. People with kidney disease often need dialysis or a kidney transplant. However, you can avoid a transplant if you get it checked early.
Interestingly enough, the inflammation from hypertension can also affect people’s gums, leading to tooth loss. If you’ve lost teeth due to hypertension, get implant dentistry services for it. They can replace any tooth you’ve lost with dental implants. These implants are made of metal posts or frames surgically placed into your jawbone. They act as a foundation for artificial teeth, making them an improved version of dentures.
Hypertension can also cause eye problems, such as vision loss or blindness. This is because the increased pressure in your arteries can damage the blood vessels in your eyes. This can lead to blindness and other vision problems. If you’re experiencing eye problems due to hypertension, get help from an eye doctor right away. They can help you manage your hypertension and prevent further vision loss.
What Can I Do About Hypertension?
If you have hypertension, there are several things you can do to manage it and keep your health risks under control.
First, you need to know your numbers. This means getting your blood pressure checked regularly. You can do this at your doctor’s office or buy a home blood pressure monitor.
Second, you need to make lifestyle changes. This means eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking. These changes can help lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health. Lastly, you may need to take medication. Your doctor may prescribe medication if lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your blood pressure. There are many different types of hypertension medication, so work with your doctor to find the best one for you.
Hypertension is a severe condition that can lead to some potentially life-threatening health complications if it’s not managed correctly. However, by getting regular checkups and making lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, you can help keep your blood pressure under control and lower your risk of complications.