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There’s a good reason why hypertension is also known as the "silent killer". Here are some important facts you should know.

Hypertension, which is most commonly known as high blood pressure, is a reflection of the force your blood exercises on your artery walls. In time, this could lead to severe health problems and, the most troublesome part of it all, is that most people don’t even experience any symptoms.

When a person has high blood pressure for longer periods of time, the end results could be as severe as heart disease, increasing the risks for a stroke. What are some of the most important things one should know about hypertension?

1. Hypertension doesn't show any symptoms

High blood pressure doesn’t offer people any visible signs, even when it reaches an alarming level. This is the bad news. The good news is that high blood pressure can easily be detected through a series of tests.

However, a very small number of people can experience the following high blood pressure symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Shortness of breath.

The problem is that neither of these is specific to hypertension and when they do occur, it’s normally during a very advanced stage, when health has been severely compromised.

2. Your lifestyle can increase your risk of hypertension

It’s very difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of hypertension in a given number of individuals. However, there are a few lifestyle traits that increase the risk of higher blood pressure, such as:

  • A large daily intake of coffee or alcohol increases the risk of hypertension.
  • People that have irregular sleep patterns or don’t get enough sleep are also at risk.
  • Not having enough exercise is another risk factor.
  • Individuals that consume large amounts of salt and don’t have a diet rich in vegetables and fruit.
  • People that are overweight.
  • Having a close relative with hypertension also makes you more exposed to ending up with this condition.
It’s also important to note that elderly citizens, especially those who are 65 years or older, are more likely to develop higher blood pressure.

3. Hypertension can happen at any age

It’s true that elders are an age category most exposed to hypertension, but young people can have it as well. For example, one in five women with the age between 35 to 44 are estimated to have hypertension. Consequently, strokes are also becoming more common in younger people.

From a medical point of view, this could happen because obesity is on the rise, leading to diabetes and high blood pressure. It is advisable for adults of all ages to have their blood pressure checked on a yearly basis.

What’s even more alarming is the fact that children can also develop hypertension, and interpreting the numbers correctly is bit trickier, whereas for adults, there are very specific intervals for determining blood pressure levels. In children, doctors can determine hypertension while considering a series of other factors, such as the child’s age, height, and sex.

4. Hypertension in children is linked to obesity

There are two major factors that can lead to a child having hypertension: family history of high blood pressure and child obesity. While the former can’t be controlled, the latter one can. Obesity isn’t just an issue that can lead to heart disease, but also exposes the child to the risk of diabetes.

Obesity is the results of two main contributors. The first one is an unhealthy diet. Children who eat more food than their bodies require are more likely to become obese. This is also a common occurrence in children that have an unhealthy diet. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to monitor the child’s food intake, analyzing both quality and quantity.

The other factor that contributes to child obesity and increases the risk for hypertension is not getting enough exercise. In today’s modern society, children are all about online connectivity and gaming through technology, they prefer gadgets instead of playing with mud and sticks. A sedentary way of life exposes both children and adults to the risk of hypertension.

5. Medication can increase the odds of hypertension

Certain types of medication can increase your blood pressure significantly. Some may cause blood pressure to rise directly, or can interact with other prescriptions drugs that are meant to keep blood pressure under control.

  • NSAIDs (which is short for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are a category of pain relievers are prescribed for conditions such as arthritis. One of their most common side effects is causing the body to retain fluids, which affects your kidneys’ function. By putting great pressure on the kidneys, the heart can also be compromised, which leads to a rise in your blood pressure.
  • Cold and cough medicine can also cause hypertension. This specific category of medication often contains some form of decongestant, which can cause your blood pressure to rise, but can also prevent hypertension meds from being efficient.
  • Certain medication used to treat migraines can cause the head’s blood vessels to tighten. While this does help cure headaches, it can also lead blood pressure to rise up to an alarming level.
  • Certain weight loss drugs can also have a negative aspect on your blood pressure, especially those that are appetite suppressants. They cause a rise in blood pressure and put a great deal of strain on the heart.
The best thing to do is to consult your doctor in regards to the medication you take. If you have already been diagnosed with hypertension, taking any other medication can cause interactions and expose you to great risks.

Conclusion

There’s a good reason why hypertension is also known as the “silent killer”. Since there are no visible symptoms (and the ones that rarely occur aren’t a clear indicator of hypertension and could be linked to other health problems as well), it’s important to get your blood pressure checked once every year.

Keep in mind that while this condition is known to affect elders out of all age categories, younger people aren’t completely safe. One’s lifestyle is directly linked to hypertension, and anything from a high caffeine or salt intake to not getting enough sleep can lead to a series of health issues, including increased blood pressure.

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