What is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
Blood pressure is defined as the force or pressure, which the heart uses to pump and circulate the blood throughout the body. Normal blood pressure is viewed as one of the most vital signs of a healthy body. 120/80mm/Hg is considered to be a normal blood pressure reading. Blood pressure can be affected unfavourably by certain factors like age, genetics, heavy salt intake, weight or sleep apnea. If the reading is 140/90 mm/Hg and above, then it is considered to be a high blood pressure reading. If high blood pressure is not diagnosed in time and treated properly, it can reduce an individual’s life expectancy to a considerable extent.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a medical condition that causes excess blood to pump into the arteries leading to heightened blood pressure. Although many people suffer from hypertension these days, majority are least aware of this condition. This is because the symptoms or signs of hypertension hardly show up. High blood pressure is generally detected only after serious damage has already been caused to vital organs like the arteries and heart. However, there are ways to treat this condition and counteract its effects.
How Long Can You Live With High Blood Pressure?
Studies have shown that high blood pressure can reduce a person’s life expectancy. High blood pressure can also take years off the time that is lived free of illnesses. It has been found that high blood pressure at the age of 50 can reduce an average of 5 years from the lives of both men and women. Further, high blood pressure can also trigger the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases 7 years in advance in these people. Since every person is different, the lifespan of a person with high blood pressure and its resulting complications also differs from person to person. If a high blood pressure patient keeps his/her blood pressure under control and follows a healthy lifestyle then the chances of the patient living a long healthy life even with high blood pressure are good.
What are the Complications That Arise From High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure can cause multiple health issues. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” as it generally doesn’t display any early symptoms or warning signs. When combined with diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity or smoking, high blood pressure can be life threatening.
High blood pressure spikes up the heart’s workload by making the heart pump harder and channelize more blood through the arteries. If this over pumping prolongs, the functioning of the arteries, heart and other vital organs of the body, like the kidneys, gradually deteriorates under this stress and strain. Moreover, this extra workload causes the heart to enlarge and over enlargement of the heart negatively affects its performance.
Ageing causes the arteries to harden and high blood pressure accelerates this process. These hardened and narrowed arteries are less capable of effectively delivering the essential nutrients and oxygen to the organs. This negatively impacts the functioning and performance of these organs. High blood pressure also increases the risk of developing blood clots in the arteries. High blood pressure can increase the risk of health ailments like heart attack, kidney failure, stroke and heart failure by many folds.
Ways to Keep Blood Pressure in Check and Live Longer
The life expectancy for high blood pressure patients depends upon many factors like their current health and their seriousness towards proper health care. Doctors recommend a number of dietary and lifestyle changes in order to keep blood pressure in control. Eating a healthy and nutritious diet containing optimum amounts of whole grain, fruits and vegetables and consuming moderate amounts of salt everyday is extremely important to regulate blood pressure. Exercising regularly, maintaining a normal body weight, limiting the alcohol intake and refraining from smoking also prove to be helpful in keeping blood pressure in check.
Regular professional assessment of blood pressure is highly recommended for blood pressure patients. However, blood pressure can be monitored at home too by the patients and then the log of the regular readings can be provided to the doctor on their next visit. One should ensure that the equipment being used to check the blood pressure is of good quality and purchased with the permission and advice of the healthcare provider. It should always be remembered that home treatment is not a substitute for regular professional evaluation.
Since all individuals are different based on their age, health condition, lifestyle, etc, the time taken for the blood pressure related complications to arise differs for person to person. When signs of this dangerous ailment surface, one should immediately consult with a medical practitioner and get high blood pressure treated immediately. With the right medical guidance and supervision, nutritional diet and right lifestyle, one can successfully keep their blood pressure in check and life a long and healthy life.
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