Category Archives: Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension

Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. High blood pressure typically develops over many years, and it affects nearly everyone eventually. You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without a single symptom. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

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

Although a few people with early-stage high blood pressure may have dull headaches, dizzy spells or a few more nosebleeds than normal, these signs and symptoms typically don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached an advanced — even life-threatening — stage.
Unless you have symptoms of extremely high blood pressure, there’s probably no need to make a special trip to the doctor to have your blood pressure checked. You’ll likely have your blood pressure taken as part of a routine doctor’s appointment.

Continue reading High blood pressure or hypertension

Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis

Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body. Healthy arteries are flexible, strong and elastic. Over time, however, too much pressure in your arteries can make the walls thick and stiff — sometimes restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues. This process is called arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

Atherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis, but the terms are often used interchangeably. Atherosclerosis refers to the buildup of fats in and on your artery walls (plaques), which can restrict blood flow. These plaques can also burst, causing a blood clot. Although atherosclerosis is often considered a heart problem, it can affect arteries anywhere in your body. Atherosclerosis is a preventable and treatable condition.

Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that may begin as early as childhood. Although the exact cause is unknown, researchers suspect that atherosclerosis starts with damage or injury to the inner layer of an artery. The damage may be caused by: Continue reading Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis

About prehypertension

Blood pressure is the force exerted on your artery walls as blood flows through your body. Slightly elevated blood pressure is known as prehypertension. Left untreated, prehypertension is likely to progress to definite high blood pressure. Both prehypertension and high blood pressure increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

A blood pressure reading has two numbers. The first, or upper, number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats (systolic pressure). The second, or lower, number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure). Normal blood pressure is below 120 systolic/80 diastolic as measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Prehypertension is a systolic pressure from 120 to 139 or a diastolic pressure from 80 to 89.

When prehypertension was defined as a new category of blood pressure in 2003, many people who Continue reading About prehypertension

About Left Ventricular Hypertrophy

Left ventricular hypertrophy is enlargement (hypertrophy) of the muscle tissue that makes up the wall of your heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle).

Left ventricular hypertrophy develops in response to some factor, such as high blood pressure, that requires the left ventricle to work harder. As the workload increases, the walls of the chamber grow thicker, lose elasticity and eventually may fail to pump with as much force as a healthy heart.

If you have left ventricular hypertrophy, you’re at increased risk of heart disease, including heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia) and sudden cardiac arrest.

The incidence of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) increases with age and is more common in people who have high blood pressure or other heart problems.

Symptoms

Left ventricular hypertrophy usually develops gradually. You may experience no signs or symptoms, especially during the early stages of development. When signs or symptoms are present, they may include: Continue reading About Left Ventricular Hypertrophy

Drinking alcohol may boost blood pressure

Drinking alcohol, even moderate amounts, may boost blood pressure more than previously thought.

People with a genetic mutation that makes it difficult to consume alcohol had significantly lower blood pressure than regular or heavy drinkers, the researchers found.

People without the mutation who had about 3 drinks per day had “strikingly” higher blood pressure than people with the genetic change who tended to drink only small amounts or nothing at all.

The researchers said there was more than a two-fold risk for high blood pressure among drinkers and a 70 percent increased risk for “quite modest” drinkers compared to people with the genetic mutation.

High blood pressure, which affects more than a billion adults worldwide, can lead to stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure.

Previous studies have linked heavy drinking with high blood pressure while others have suggested that moderate alcohol intake provides health benefits such as lower cholesterol.

The genetic mutation is common in some Asian populations and discourages drinking because alcohol triggers facial flushing, nausea, drowsiness, headache and other unpleasant symptoms.