Monday, December 5, 2011

Hypertension - silent killer

When we are talking about high blood pressure, it is important to clarify its importance for human health. Called a "silent killer", most often it has no symptoms for years and it is deadly because it damages vital organs and their function. High blood pressure can cause heart attacks, strokes, kidney failures, and even blindness.
If your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or higher, you have high blood pressure. If it is between the values of 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg, you have a prehypertension and if you dont make life style changes you will most likely develop a high blood pressure.
Most people don't think about high blood pressure until it is already too late and they need medications. If you are one of those people, you are not to blame. In order to take this global epidemic seriously in your own life, you need to understand some things about high blood pressure. First thing you probably want to know about high blood pressure is why it is so dangerous.
High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard. And if this goes on for a long time, it can cause a damage to a heart muscle. It also makes artery walls harder.

High blood pressure can damage your arteries inner lining, which causes hardening of the arteries (medical term is arteriosclerosis). Fats, including cholesterol, passing through the blood collect on the damaged cells to start atherosclerosis.  When fat hardening of artery walls gets bigger it can block blood flow to any organ of the body, including heart, brain, kidneys, arm or legs. This can lead to many problems, including heart attack, heart failure, chest pain (angina), stroke, eye damage, blocked arteries in legs or arms.
High blood pressure, regardless of the cause, is divided into primary (essential) and secondary hypertension.
The most often (95%) the cause of hypertension is unknown, in this case we are talking about the primary or essential hypertension. The remaining 5% cases of high blood pressure is a secondary hypertension, i.e. high blood pressure as a result of some other diseases or disorders in the body. The most common causes of secondary hypertension are kidney diseases (narrowing of the renal artery, inflammation of kidneytissue or renal tubules, tumors, cysts in the kidneys, kidney damage due to diabetes), hormonal disorders (Cushing's syndrome, adrenal gland tumor), medications (oral contraceptives, immunosuppressive drugs, overuse of alcohol, cocaine and antidepressants), acute lead poisoning and some others.

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