Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force with which the blood presses against the arterial walls as it circulates. In a person with high blood pressure, or hypertension, this force is greater than normal and causes the arterial walls to narrow and thicken, putting extra strain on the heart.

Blood pressure fluctuates even in healthy individuals. It tends to increase with physical activity, excitement, fear, or emotional stress, but such elevations are usually transient. Most physicians will not make the diagnosis of hypertension unless the pressure is high on at least three separate occasions.

Obesity, alcohol and sugar intake, and hereditary and ethnic factors all contribute, as will diabetes, kidney disease, and pregnancy. It is usually only when the secondary complications—damage to the arteries, brain, eyes, or elsewhere in the body—have developed that symptoms occur, by which time the condition is serious.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure  

• Mild hypertension has no symptoms

• Severe hypertension: headaches, shortness of breath, visual disturbances, giddiness

• In the U.S. at least 50 million people have hypertension

• Hypertension is usually described as being a systolic pressure greater than 139, or a diastolic pressure greater than 89, or both. The World Health Organization defines it as being consistently above 160mm. Hg. systolic, and 95mm. Hg. diastolic

• In the U.K. high blood pressure is extremely common, affecting 10–20 percent of the adult population

• High blood pressure is more frequent and more severe in African Americans than in the white U.S. population, and in both races in the south-eastern United States than in the rest of the nation

• It is uncommon in children and adolescents

• In young adulthood and early middle age, high blood pressure occurs more frequently in men than in women; thereafter the reverse is true

• Hypertension occurs worldwide and is most prevalent in Japan and northern China

• In societies that consume little or no salt the incidence of hypertension is extremely low

Routine blood pressure checks should be undertaken by everyone as a matter of course. Sustained high blood pressure can cause severe damage to the heart, kidneys, and eyes, and should not be ignored. Do not take herbal remedies while taking conventional medicine without consulting your physician.

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