In order to understand the cause and symptoms of high blood pressure, you first must understand that there are two different kinds, essential (or primary) hypertension and secondary hypertension.
Essential hypertension is when the cause of high blood pressure is known and is the most common form. This is frequently brought on by the basic changes associated with aging. Blood pressure tends to increase as people get older and as larger arteries gradually begin to stiffen and small arteries may become partially blocked. Experts believe that this hardening and stiffening of arteries may be the reason that blood pressure seems to get higher as we age. It is also believed that an unhealthy diet and chronic stress may also be a cause of high blood pressure as we age. Also, obesity and kidney functioning may be a prominent cause of high blood pressure. Interestingly enough, in non-industrialized countries blood-pressure does not seem to increase as much when people age. These differences may be at least partially explained by the level of stress engendered in modern everyday life.
Secondary hypertension is much more rare and is believed to be related to several disorders. Disorders such as partial blockage of arteries to the kidneys (diseases such as atherosclerosis), and diseases which cause damage to the kidneys such as infections or diabetes may result in secondary hypertension. Also, sleep apnea, or tumors in the adrenal glands which are located on the top of your kidneys, may also be a cause of hypertension of the secondary variety.
Certain drugs are also believed to be a cause of secondary hypertension such as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), and even over-the-counter allergy drugs and cold remedies that contain phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine.
Symptoms of high blood pressure:
Symptoms of high blood pressure can be relatively difficult to determine in that some people have no symptoms at all. While they may blame high blood pressure for their headaches and the ringing in their ears, these symptoms may occur whether their blood pressure is high or not. Some people believe that their symptoms of high blood pressure include feeling flushed or just not feeling right.
The actual symptoms of high blood pressure may occur when there’s been damage to one or more of the bodily organs, which frequently may include the brain, heart or kidneys. The additional damage to these organs may be incurred if the symptoms of high blood pressure are not treated or are treated inadequately.
When you have very high symptoms of high blood pressure, you may have a sudden headache with loss of sensation and possibly paralysis of one half of your body. These symptoms are usually caused by the rupture of an artery in the brain, sometimes referred to as a hemorrhagic stroke.
Chest pain associated with coronary artery disease may also occur. If this happens, your legs and feet may swell and you may become short of breath during physical activity and eventually even during rest. Damaged kidneys may result in frequent urination, and if damage is severe you may feel nauseated and tired.
Additional symptoms of high blood pressure include blurred vision. This is usually the result of arteries in the eyes being damaged. If one of these arteries rupture, vision problems may occur, making this one the more troublesome symptoms of high blood pressure.
Some information inspired by The Merck Manual of Health of Aging
Additional information and web page by Paul Susic Ph.D.. Licensed Psychologist (Health Psychology)
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