Introduction to Hypertension


My Blood pressure reading was once around 140/90…..

But I don’t feel anything….

With blood pressure, one time reading is not considered as the final word; multiple readings at different times of the day are needed.

Yet again, no distinctive symptoms are visible, but the damage to the blood vessels begins.

Do not ignore high readings!

– Dr. Pooja, Senior Nutritionist

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, means the pressure in your arteries is higher than it should be. It is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to the body and contributes to hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, to stroke, kidney disease, and to the development of heart failure.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels.

A few people with high blood pressure may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds, but these signs and symptoms aren’t specific and usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.

So it is advisable to check and track your blood pressure readings regularly to be able to detect it early.

Effects of High Blood Pressure

The excessive pressure on your artery walls caused by high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels, as well as organs in your body. The higher your blood pressure and the longer it goes uncontrolled, the greater the damage.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to:

  • Stroke
  • Blindness
  • Heart attack/ failure
  • Kidney failure

What causes high blood pressure?

High blood pressure can be diagnosed as primary or secondary hypertension depending on whether there is an underlying medical cause.

Hypertension Chart

Primary Hypertension

About 95 in 100 people with high blood pressure have primary hypertension. This means there’s no single, identifiable cause. However, various lifestyle factors can contribute, including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Not doing enough exercise
  • Having too much salt in your diet

If someone else in your family has high blood pressure, you have a higher risk of developing it.

Secondary hypertension

About five in 100 people with high blood pressure have secondary hypertension. This means there is a known underlying medical cause such as:

  • Kidney disease
  • Endocrine diseases (hormone disorders)
  • a narrowing of part of your aorta (the largest artery leading from your heart) or the arteries leading to your kidneys
  • Pregnancy

Secondary hypertension can also be caused by certain medicines, including steroid medicines and the contraceptive pill.

In our next blog we will look at the lifestyle changes that will help you control High blood pressure.

Assess, track and stay informed about your health with eKincare

Author: drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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