Hypertension; the most common risk factor for developing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD).

Written by: Dr. Ali Khatau

Posted at: 2021-03-01 10:50:29

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure is a medical condition where the pressure of the blood flowing through the blood vessels is constantly higher than normal. If not treated early on, the condition may lead to other complications including heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and vision loss. Hypertension is divided into 2 categories, primary and secondary. Primary hypertension comprises of more than 90% of the cases as is caused by unspecific lifestyle and genetic factors while secondary hypertension comprises of the remaining 10% and is due to an underlying illness that elevates the blood pressure for example kidney disease. The normal blood pressure at rest ranges from 100-140mmHg systolic and 60-90mmHg diastolic in adults. The ideal pressure in adults is 120/80 mmHg. An individual is diagnosed with hypertension if his BP is above 140/90mmHg while anything below 100/60mmHg is considered hypotension (low BP), the opposite of hypertension. Symptoms Hypertension in adults is rarely accompanied by any symptoms and is usually identified during routine health check-ups and when checking the pressure during treatment of an unrelated medical condition. Occasional patients with hypertension might report with headaches, vertigo, buzzing in the ears, dizziness, altered vision and possibly fainting. Causes Primary hypertension arises due environmental & genetic factors. The condition commonly develops in aging and older people. It can also be caused by smoking, alcoholism, high salt intake, lack of exercise or prolonged inactivity, depression & obesity. Secondary hypertension as earlier described is due to an underlying medical condition. Examples of medical conditions which may cause secondary hypertension include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, hyperaldosteronism & hyperparathyroidism. Treatment Your blood pressure can be maintained at the normal level by taking certain medications called antihypertensives which may only be prescribed by a doctor. Apart from this you may also be advised on lifestyle modifications like regular exercise, healthy diets and avoiding smoking & alcohol consumption. Prevention In order to prevent developing this condition, an individual must maintain a normal & healthy body weight, he must reduce dietary salt intake & must limit alcohol consumption if he cannot quit it altogether. An individual must also engage in regular physical exercise and must also consume a diet rich in fruits & vegetables.

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