Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is causing problems for millions of people worldwide. These numbers have increased rapidly over the last few decades, even though awareness and diagnosis have remained low. The 2020 projections show that within 20 years, there will be about 1.5 billion hypertension cases worldwide. This is one of the many reasons why focusing on treatment and prevention now is essential.
Striking Rise of Hypertension Across the World
Although about 108 million Americans have hypertension or are treating it with medication, the U.S. is not the only place with widespread hypertension. All across the world, rates of high blood pressure have consistently risen. There are estimates of over 1 billion cases throughout the world today. The increased rates are significantly higher for low and middle income countries, which make up around 1 billion of the worldwide cases of hypertension.
Although it causes some terrible complications, hypertension is still largely ignored and discounted. It has become known as the “silent killer” in the medical world because of how often it causes death while the person doesn’t know he or she has it. The “silent killer” name stems from the symptoms, which are either hard to identify or non-existent. High blood pressure is currently the leading cause of heart disease and premature death worldwide. About half of all people with hypertension are unaware of their condition, even with increasing hypertension rates and higher prevalence of deaths worldwide.
As rates continue to rise, it is essential to know what causes hypertension so you can focus on a lifestyle that will prevent it. Hypertension, although potentially deadly, is relatively easy to treat once identified. So fear not; with the proper awareness and treatment, you can easily control this killer condition.
Causes of Hypertension
Blood pressure is a crucial function of the human body. It is measured by the amount of force your blood exerts on the artery walls while your heart pumps blood throughout your body. The condition of high blood pressure happens when something goes wrong in your body, like a constricted or narrowed artery, making it harder for your heart to pump blood. This complication puts excessive pressure on the walls of your blood vessels. The pressure can cause significant damage to your body and lead to complications like vision loss, heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease, among other health problems. Now that we know what hypertension is, let’s look at the causes.
Hypertension can be caused by lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking, and not getting regular exercise. Other health conditions like diabetes and obesity can also increase your risk of high blood pressure. A higher risk of hypertension even sometimes accompanies pregnancies. Studies link diets high in salt and simple sugars to an increased risk of high blood pressure. Obesity is also a leading cause of hypertension because of constricted and stiffened arteries. Lastly, smoking is one of the biggest culprits in causing hypertension. Although hypertension and its causes sound scary, most of the causes are avoidable, which makes preventing high blood pressure easier!
Preventing and Treating Hypertension
Lifestyle changes combined with first-line antihypertensive medications are the best way to treat hypertension. Thankfully, medications for this condition are relatively cheap throughout the world. However, the main problem the medical world faces while trying to treat hypertension is the lack of awareness in patients. If people don’t know they have hypertension, they can’t be adequately treated. This unawareness and the fact that symptoms can sometimes be invisible means prevention is incredibly important.
Exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding smoking are all great ways to keep your health intact. Getting regular check-ups with your doctor and making sure you are being monitored for healthy blood pressure is another way to keep yourself healthy.
Our Top Doctor Magazine team hopes that you take this newfound knowledge of the prevalence and dangers of hypertension and use it to check in with yourself and your loved ones. Remember: prevention may be the key to staying happy and healthy. Check in with your doctor and get tested for hypertension if you have any concerns. Getting regular exercise and eating right are also great ways to take control of your health today!