Hypertension is a condition in the heart caused by an increase in pressure within the bloodstream. Commonly known as “high blood pressure” it is a symptom of heart disease, stroke and heart attack to name a few of the major conditions. However, high blood pressure can also be a symptom of some minor conditions such as panic attacks or anxiety as well.
The pressure of your blood is based on numerical values given based on resistance and lack of resistance within our blood vessels.
A doctor or medical professional will use a blood pressure testing kit which measures your blood pressure (BP) under stress and while it is relaxed. The kit squeezes our arms to simulate the narrowing of our blood vessels when our blood pressure will be high, and releases to simulate what our relaxed blood pressure should be when our blood vessels are in their normal/current state.
This provides a millimeters (mm) of Mercury (Hg) reading (mmHg) which is a value used to measure pressure specifically. When your blood pressure is high it will be (systolic) at around 90 – 250 mmHg, and when your blood pressure is low (diastolic) it will be around 60 – 140 mmHg. A suitable range for your blood pressure to be in is between 90 to 120 on the high side, and 60 to 80 on the low side. As you can see this simple test can show us how healthy we are through a simple comparison check. In other words, if our relaxed BP is in the high end we know we must make changes to correct this and vice versa.
Blood pressure is something that we can struggle to control because the symptoms of high or low blood pressure can take a long time to become so bad that we realize something is wrong and we need to visit a doctor. This is why a healthy diet should be a normal everyday thing for us as a society with a focus on keeping our blood pressure healthy, not low, as standard. Fortunately, though, hypertension is easy to detect during a regular checkup and, once you know you have it, it can be controlled with the aid of your doctor. Hypertension can also be made less likely through healthy lifestyle changes such as diet as we mentioned before and exercise.
Most patients with hypertension, even when they have dangerously high blood pressure readings have no obvious symptoms. A few may experience headaches, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds which can sadly be “written off” as the result of something else in the meantime.
Secondary hypertension is basically a hypertension issue that is caused by one or a number of other medical issues with our bodies. Due to its causes which we will mention below, this type of hypertension can sometimes be much more problematic as the processes to fix it can be fewer and unsuccessful.
Potential Causes of Secondary Hypertension
Age: Like many medical conditions, age plays a big part in the development of hypertension. Our blood vessel walls can become thicker and lose their ability to expand when pressure increases. It usually affects both men and women when they reach their mid 60’s. It can affect younger people and children but it this is usually dependent on lifestyle or underlying conditions.
Race/Genetics: It is said that race can have an impact on a person’s likely hood to develop hypertension but this is both based on some minor genetic differences (blood vessel health) and lifestyle. Furthermore, if someone within a family has developed hypertension it is also likely that other members of that family or their children will also develop hypertension too.
Weight, Obesity & Lack of Exercise: As it has already been mentioned a number of times, diet and lifestyle play a big part in whether we develop hypertension. Being overweight or obese as a result of poor diet and lifestyle can put a strain on the heart to pump blood around the body as quickly as it needs to. This increase in required blood supply will also lead to an increase in pressure. Lack of exercise can means your now weaker heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Exercise makes your heart stronger and therefore it can pump blood around your body with less effort, but only if it is strong.
Tobacco: Smoking and chewing tobacco temporarily increase your blood pressure very quickly. If this is done over a long period of time the blood vessels can become clogged (causing pressure) and also weakened due to the chemicals being used. This problem would be considered a lifestyle issue that can cause hypertension.
Sodium-Heavy or Low Potassium Diet: Too much salt in our diets can result in dehydration and hypertension. This will ironically result in too much fluid is present within our bodies. Our brain will start to produce more vasopressin (amino acid) which causes our artery walls to constrict and therefore increase our blood pressure. Since potassium is good at balancing our levels of sodium, the lack of it means we could end up with high sodium levels in our blood. As mentioned before this can result in higher blood pressure.
Too Much Alcohol: High alcohol intake has a similar effect to taking too much sodium in that more hormones are released within our blood which results in further constrictions within our arteries raising our blood pressure.
Stress: This contributing factor is very obvious for most of us. Stress results in a higher heart rate which fills our arteries with too much blood that can slow blood flow and generate higher blood pressure.
If you know you have hypertension you should seek professional medical advice from and doctor or registered medical professional/ If you don’t you could be a risk of the following potentially fatal medical conditions:
Research suggests medical cannabis has Increased blood pressure, increased heart-rate, possible orthostatic intolerance (dizziness on standing) with short-term effects and decreased blood pressure and relaxation with long term effects.
In a novel study showed that cannabis use was said to have a modest connection to a rise in systolic blood pressure but they found no connection between cannabis use and diastolic blood pressure. The conclusion of the study was the need for further clinical trials to access the full relationship.
Another more concerning study suggests anyone who has smoked marijuana faces a higher risk of dying with high blood pressure, but it defines marijuana “users” as anyone who’s ever tried the drug and that it doesn’t differentiate among strains or cannabinoids of the highly unregulated product. The study’s primary researcher defined anyone who said they had ever tried marijuana as “a regular user.” Yet, according to another survey, about 52% of Americans have tried cannabis at some point, yet only 14% said they used the drug “regularly,” when defined as “at least once a month.”