We are all prone to high blood pressure, young and old alike and I think it is high time to recall what we know about hypertension or high blood pressure. As we are still threatened by the pandemic and vaccination is already rolled out, there are instances that we have to be certified by a doctor regarding comorbidity before our first jab.
I think it is good to recall or be informed about the effects of hypertension as discussed by Prof. Marvin Moser, M.D., FACP. He is a Clinical Professor of medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine and authored his booklet about high blood pressure that is published online.
The extensive discussion on the facts about high blood pressure I think is really worth our time and attention to read which I also found to be very informative for you and me. Having this information about the effects of high blood pressure will enable us to change our lifestyle, if possible, so as to maintain normal blood pressure and prevent serious ailments as brought about by high blood pressure. I wrote most of the facts verbatim as every word is worth digesting and pondering.
Some Effects of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- Enlarged heart - Over a period of time, the heart muscle enlarges if it has to work harder than usual to push blood out into the vital organs of the body. This is what happens to the heart of a person with "untreated" high blood pressure. If high blood pressure is not found or poorly treated, there is also increasing pressure on the walls of the small blood vessels of the brain, the kidney, and the rest of the body.
- Stroke - In the brain, as pressure increases, damage occurs to the lining of the blood vessels, and little blisters may form. These are called aneurysms. They are very small but occasionally may break suddenly. This causes a "stroke" with hemorrhaging (bleeding) into the brain and weakness on one side of the body or a loss of speech. In addition, a stroke may be caused by progressive narrowing of one of the vessels in the brain, a process which is made worse by hypertension.
- Heart attack - If the arteries that supply blood to the heart itself, the "coronary arteries," become clogged with fatty material, the blood flow to portions of the heart is reduced. When one of the vessels is completely closed off, there is a temporary stoppage of all blood flow to that part of the heart. Portions of the heart muscle are damaged. We say that a "heart attack" has occurred.
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) - If blood pressure is not controlled, some of the fat that normally circulates in our body is pushed more rapidly into the walls of the damaged arteries.
Plaques (collections of fatty material) build up in the arteries, like rust on the inside of a pipe. This condition is called atherosclerosis, and is commonly referred to as "hardening of the arteries." The higher the blood pressure and the more fat (cholesterol) in the bloodstream, the faster the process."
- Uremia (failure of the kidneys to function properly) - In the kidney, continued high blood pressure may cause increasing damage, with narrowing and thickening of the arteries. This reduces the amount of fluid that the kidney can filter out into the urine. Since the kidney eliminates waste products from our body, these products now build up. The result can be kidney failure with "uremia”. Early treatment of hypertension can usually prevent this serious complication.
"In addition to high blood pressure, the risk of heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) complications is greatly increased by smoking, a high blood cholesterol level, diabetes, and being overweight."
To sum up, Prof. Moser enumerated the following which high blood pressure may cause:
1. The heart to get larger
2. Little blisters (aneurysms) in the blood vessels in the brain
3. Progressive narrowing of the kidney blood vessels
4. Increased rate of hardening of the arteries all over the body, especially in the heart, brain, and kidneys
Avoid Foods with a High Salt or Sodium Content
Food that is high in sodium should be limited or avoided if you have high blood pressure. And we are advised to look at the labels when we buy these kinds of food.
Apparently, being overweight not only has something to do with high blood pressure, but also brings a higher risk of heart and blood vessel complications. As such, I highly recommend that you start your physical health regimen although I know most of us already engage in physical exercises.
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