What Is The Danger If You Are Not Aware Of Hypertension?

by Ng Peng Hock - Date: 2006-12-26 - Word Count: 392 Share This!

What is hypertension? It may sound very familiar and most of us will simply answer: it means high blood pressure. But, how many of us can really understand its hidden dangers?

To better understand hypertension, we need to know what blood pressure is.

Technically, blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood against the arterial walls as it is pumped by the heart to various parts of the body. Without it, our blood cannot circulate around our body to fulfill its function of delivering food and oxygen to important organ. Therefore, it is important to understand blood pressure and keep it within a healthy range.

Blood pressure is measured with an instrument called a sphygmomanometer. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded fractionally as 2 numbers, for example, 120/80 mmHg. Blood pressure rises when your heart beats and falls when your heart relaxes. The higher (systolic) number represents the pressure when the heart is beating, and the lower (diastolic) number refers to the pressure when the heart relaxes in between beats.

Our blood pressure varies throughout the day as well as with exercise, fear or pain. It usually rises when we are nervous or excited. A temporary rise in blood pressure in these conditions is very common.

For some people, their blood pressure remains higher than what it should be. When one's blood pressure reading is consistently more than 140/90 mmHg, one is said to have hypertension or high blood pressure. However, studies have shown that even those with a blood pressure lower than 140/90 mmHg but above 120/80 mmHg might have, in the long term, a higher sign of hypertension compared with those with blood pressure readings below 120/80 mmHg.

The problem with hypertension is that we may feel perfectly well (that is, without any symptoms) and look healthy despite having a raised blood pressure for years. By the time complications arise, it is often too late as they can be fatal as a result of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, etc.

Hypertension makes our heart pump harder and causes the circulating blood to flow at greater pressure. If blood pressure remains uncontrolled for a long time, it can eventually lead to malfunction of the heart, less elastic and hardened arteries and damage to vital body organs. As a result, it increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and heart attack.

Related Tags: heart attack, stroke, hypertension, heart disease, kidney failure, heart failure

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