You probably know about it but never stopped to give it a second thought. Or maybe we’re just so caught up with the busyness of life that we fail to recognise it as a dangerous condition claiming more lives with each day. High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, is a very real medical problem where the heart works extra hard to supply blood to the body. Dubbed a silent killer, high blood pressure is a condition shows no obvious symptoms but increases the risk of heart attack, kidney failure, and stroke.
Now that you know what high blood pressure is, it’s time you find out what causes it. Knowing what contributes to it will help you identify if you’re at risk of high blood pressure. Thereafter, you can take appropriate steps to controlling your blood pressure.
You are what you eat
We all know too much of anything cannot be a good thing and the same goes for consuming processed or pre-packaged food that is saturated with sodium. Somehow, we seem to know a lot but our actions don’t always reflect what we know. In Singapore, the average person consumes 60% more sodium than the recommended amount – now that should be a cause of concern.
Aim for optimal weight
Remember how our PE teachers reinforced the concept of being overweight a bad one? Well, they weren’t wrong. Of all the medical problems related to being overweight, high blood pressure is one of them.
When you’re overweight, your body requires more oxygen and nutrients so your heart is forced to work harder to supply that extra needed. And when the heart is working extra hard, it causes blood pressure to rise.
It can run in the family
Sometimes, you can’t help it. A lot of medical conditions are passed down from generation to generation so if high blood pressure is present in your family’s medical history, that means you are prone to the condition as well.
The medical trigger point
And we’re talking about diabetes or kidney disease.
Our kidneys are in charge of removing waste and extra fluid from the body. (Side note: If any part of your body is swelling due to water retention, chances are your kidneys may not be functioning its best so do get checked!) When your kidneys fail, it gives waste and extra fluid the opportunity to build up in your blood vessels. This build-up prevents blood from being supplied smoothly (imagine driving on an uneven road – bumpy ride, ain’t it?) which, in turn, causes the blood pressure level to rise.
Diabetes, on the other hand, directly shrinks the blood vessels. From here on, it’s simple science – the narrower the blood vessels, the higher the blood pressure.
Now you not only know what it means to have high blood pressure, you also know what causes it.
Of these 4 factors listed here, I’m sure you’re well in control to prevent 3 of them at least. (I mean, we can’t control what runs in our family history but surely we can choose what we eat.) I’m guessing you already know what to do.