Hypertension and its causes

Hypertension and its causes.

Overview

High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.

Blood pressure is determined both 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.

You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

High blood pressure generally develops over many years, and it affects nearly everyone eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it.

Causes

There are two types of high blood pressure.

Primary (essential) hypertension

For most adults, there’s no identifiable cause of high blood pressure. This type of high blood pressure, called primary (essential) hypertension, tends to develop gradually over many years.

Secondary hypertension

Some people have high blood pressure caused by an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure, called secondary hypertension, tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure than does primary hypertension. Various conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension, including:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Kidney problems
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Thyroid problems
  • Certain defects you’re born with (congenital) in blood vessels
  • Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
  • Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines

Risk factors

A number of factors increase the risk of hypertension.

  • Age: Hypertension is more common in people who are more than 60 years of age. Blood pressure can increase steadily with age as the arteries stiffen and narrow due to plaque buildup.
  • Ethnicity: Some ethnic groups are more prone to hypertension than others. African Americans have a higher risk than other ethnic groups, for example. · Size and weight: Being overweight or obese is a primary risk factor.
  • Alcohol and tobacco use: Regularly consuming large quantities of alcohol or tobacco can increase blood pressure.
  • Sex: According to a 2018 review, males have a higher risk of developing hypertension than females. However, this is only until after women reach menopause.
  • Existing health conditions: Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and high cholesterol levels can lead to hypertension, especially as people age.

Other risk factors include:

  • sedentary lifestyle
  • salt rich, high fat diet
  • low potassium intake

Poorly managed stress and a family history of high blood pressure can also contribute to the risk of developing hypertension.

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What is Hypertension: Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure. Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in the vessels. Each time the heart beats, it pumps blood into the vessels. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart has to pump. 

Hypertension is a serious medical condition and can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. It is a major cause of premature death worldwide, with upwards of 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women – over a billion people ­– having the condition. The burden of hypertension is felt disproportionately in low- and middle-income countries, where two thirds of cases are found, largely due to increased risk factors in those populations in recent decades. 

Symptoms

Many people with hypertension do not notice symptoms and may be unaware there is a problem. Symptoms can include early morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms, vision changes, and buzzing in the ears. More severe forms may exhibit fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain, and muscle tremors. If left untreated, hypertension can cause persistent chest pain (also called angina), heart attacks, heart failure, and an irregular heartbeat, which can lead to a sudden death.  

Hypertension can also cause strokes by blocking or bursting arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain, as well as kidney damage, which can lead to kidney failure. High blood pressure causes damage to the heart by hardening arteries and decreasing the flood of blood and oxygen to the heart. 

Detecting hypertension is done with a quick and painless test of blood pressure. This can be done at home, but a health professional can help assess any risks or associated conditions.

Prevention and Treatment

Reducing modifiable risk factors is the best way to prevent hypertension and associated diseases of the heart, brain, kidney and other organs. These factors include unhealthy diets (excessive salt consumption, a diet high in saturated fat and trans fats, low intake of fruits and vegetables), physical inactivity, consumption of tobacco and alcohol, and being overweight or obese.  

There are also non-modifiable risk factors, including a family history of hypertension, age over 65 years and co-existing diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease. Avoiding dietary and behavioural risk factors is doubly important for those with unmodifiable or hereditary risk factors.  

Hypertension can be managed by reducing and managing mental stress, regularly checking blood pressure and consulting with health professionals, treating high blood pressure and managing other medical conditions. Cessation of tobacco use and the harmful use of alcohol, as well as improvements in diet and exercise, can help reduce symptoms and risk factors from hypertension. 

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Health Consequences of Being Underweight

What Does Underweight Really Mean?

Being underweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. This is estimated to be less than the body mass needed to sustain optimal health.

Conversely, over 25 is considered overweight and over 30 is considered obese.

Use this calculatorTrusted Source to see where you fit on the BMI scale (opens in a new tab).

However, keep in mind that there are many problems with the BMI scale, which only looks at weight and height. It does not take muscle mass into account.

Some people are naturally very skinny but still healthy. Being underweight according to this scale does not necessarily mean that you have a health problem.

Being underweight is about 2–3 times more common among girls and women, compared to men. In the US, 1% of men and 2.4% of women 20 years and older are underweight (Trusted ).

Here are many natural Weight gain remedies .

What Are the Health Consequences of Being Underweight?

Obesity is currently one of the world’s biggest health problems.

However, being underweight may be just as bad for your health. According to one study, being underweight was associated with a 140% greater risk of early death in men, and 100% in women (Trusted )

In comparison, obesity was associated with a 50% greater risk of early death, indicating that being underweight may be even worse for your health.

Another study found an increased risk of early death in underweight men, but not women, suggesting that being underweight may be worse for men.

Being underweight can also impair your immune function, raise your risk of infections, lead to osteoporosis and fractures and cause fertility problems.

What’s more, people who are underweight are much more likely to get sarcopenia (age-related muscle wasting) and may be at greater risk of dementia.

Several Things Can Cause Someone to Become Underweight

There are several medical conditions that can cause unhealthy weight loss, including:

  • Eating disorders: This includes anorexia nervosa, a serious mental disorder.
  • Thyroid problems: Having an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can boost metabolism and cause unhealthy weight loss.
  • Celiac disease: The most severe form of gluten intolerance. Most people with celiac disease don’t know that they have it (Trusted Source).
  • Diabetes: Having uncontrolled diabetes (mainly type 1) can lead to severe weight loss.
  • Cancer: Cancerous tumors often burn large amounts of calories and can cause someone to lose a lot of weight.
  • Infections: Certain infections can cause someone to become severely underweight. This includes parasites, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

If you’re underweight, you may want to see a doctor to rule out any serious medical conditions.

This is particularly important if you have recently started losing large amounts of weight without even trying.

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Top 15 food for weight gain

Some people are skinny and underweight, they want to gain weight. In this article I will discuss about Top 15 food for weight gain.

1. Whole Milk and milk products

Milk offers a mix of fat, carbohydrates, and proteins. It is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium. The protein content of milk makes it a good choice for people trying to build muscle.

One study found that after a resistance training workout, drinking skim milk helped to build muscle more effectively than a soy-based product.

A similar study involving women in resistance training showed improved results in those who drank milk following a workout.

For anyone looking to gain weight, milk can be added to the diet throughout the day.

2. Protein shakes

Protein shakes can help a person to gain weight easily and efficiently. A shake is most effective at helping to build muscle if drunk shortly after a workout.

However, it is important to note that premade shakes often contain extra sugar and other additives that should be avoided. Check labels carefully.

3. Rice

A cup of rice contains about 200 calories, and it is also a good source of carbohydrates, which contribute to weight gain. Many people find it easy to incorporate rice into meals containing proteins and vegetables.

4. Red meat

Consuming red meat has been shown to help with building muscle and gaining weight.

Steak contains both leucine and creatine, nutrients that play a significant role in boosting muscle mass. Steak and other red meats contain both protein and fat, which promote weight gain.

While a person is advised to limit their intake, leaner cuts of red meat are healthier for the heart than fattier cuts.

One study found that adding lean red meat to the diets of 100 women aged 60–90 helped them to gain weight and increase strength by 18 percent while undergoing resistance training.

5. Nuts and nut butter

Consuming nuts regularly can help a person to gain weight safely. Nuts are a great snack and can be added to many meals, including salads. Raw or dry roasted nuts have the most health benefits.

Nut butters made without added sugar or hydrogenated oils can also help. The only ingredient in these butters should be the nuts themselves.

6. Whole-grain breads

These breads contain complex carbohydrates, which can promote weight gain. Some also contain seeds, which provide added benefits.

7. Other starches

Starches help some of the foods already listed to boost muscle growth and weight gain. They add bulk to meals and boost the number of calories consumed.

Other foods rich in starches include:

  • potatoes
  • corn
  • quinoa
  • buckwheat
  • beans
  • squash
  • oats
  • legumes
  • winter root vegetables
  • sweet potatoes
  • pasta
  • whole-grain cereals
  • whole-grain breads
  • cereal bars

Beyond adding calories, starches provide energy in the form of glucose. Glucose is stored in the body as glycogen. Research indicates that glycogen can improve performance and energy during exercise.

8. Protein supplements

Athletes looking to gain weight often use protein supplements to boost muscle mass, in combination with resistance training.

9. Salmon

Six ounces of salmon will contain about 240 calories, and salmon is also rich in healthy fats, making it a good choice for those looking to gain weight.

It also contains many nutrients, including omega-3 and protein.

10. Dried fruits

Dried fruits are rich in nutrients and calories, with one-quarter cup of dried cranberries containing around 130 calories.

11. Avocados

Avocados are rich in calories and fat, as well as some vitamins and minerals.

12. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a high fat, high-calorie food. It also contains antioxidants.

A person looking to gain weight should select chocolate that has a cacao content of at least 70 percent.

13. Cereal bars

Cereal bars can offer the vitamin and mineral content of cereal in a more convenient form.

A person should look for bars that contain whole grains, nuts, and fruits.

14. Eggs

Eggs are a good source of protein, healthy fat, and other nutrients. Most nutrients are contained in the yolk.

15. Cheese

Cheese is good source of fat, protein, calcium, and calories. A person looking to gain weight should select full-fat cheeses.

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