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High Blood Pressure - Lifestyle Disorder

Each time the heart beats, it pushes blood carrying oxygen and nutrients through the arteries and veins. Blood Pressure is the amount of force exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries. Everyone has to have some blood pressure so that blood can get to the body's organs and muscles.

High blood pressure is one of the most common lifestyle diseases. Sure, everyone knows about the blood pressure. It is quite another issue that many of us do not know what it actually stands for. Most medical examinations now-a-days have a mandatory blood pressure check-up.

You could have high blood pressure:

  • if you are overweight
  • if you do not exercise regularly.
  • if you take more salt than normal (your diet is high in sodium).
  • if you are a smoker
  • if your cholesterol levels are high.
  • if your diet does not include enough calcium or potassium.
  • if you have more than three alcoholic drinks a day.
  • if you have diabetes.
  • if you have more than three cups of coffee a day.
  • if your food has more of fat and cholesterol than vegetables and fruits.

High blood pressure joins smoking and high cholesterol as one of the most important risk factors for coronary artery disease. High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for a stroke.

Possible complications due to high blood pressure:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Left ventricular hypertrophy:The wall of the major pumping chamber of the heart thickens as a result of the increased work by the heart. This can damage the normal functioning of the heart.
  • Congestive heart failure: When the weakened heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.
  • Kidney failure: Almost one-third of all cases of kidney failures are caused by high blood pressure.
  • Bones: High blood pressure causes more calcium to be excreted in the urine, leading to a loss of bone mineral density called osteoporosis, which increases the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women.
  • Legs and feet: Could lead to impaired blood flow to the legs and feet (peripheral vascular disease), causing leg pain, numbness, open sores on the legs, feet and toes and difficulty walking.
  • Eyes: Damage to blood vessel in the eyes, leading to a disease of the retina.
  • Brain: Decreased short-term memory and attention, Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
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