High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition where the blood pressure in the arteries is much higher than normal, usually coming with no symptoms at all. However, consequences of this are fairly serious – heart attack, stroke, aneurism, kidney damage and vision impairment can happen if you do not tend to your high blood pressure problem. We divide this condition into two types, a primary and a secondary hypertension. High blood pressure is often referred to as “silent killer” because it usually doesn’t cause any kind of symptoms for years, while it damages vital organs like heart, brain or kidneys. Blood pressure usually changes a lot during your lifetime and even during a single day, which is completely normal. Children and adolescents have a significantly lower blood pressure than adults. Values of blood pressure vary over the day physiologically as well, being highest in the morning and lowest over night while you’re sleeping.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
About 95% of high blood pressure can’t be rationalized with a proper cause – this is when we talk about the primary or essential hypertension. In the rest 5% of cases it’s all about secondary hypertension, which means that high blood pressure is caused by a different condition or disorder in your body. Pressure can ramp up due to large arteries which can lose their flexibility over time, becoming almost solid. Because of this they can’t expand when heart pumps blood through them, which ends up in increased blood pressure. With every heart contraction blood will pump with higher force through the small blood vessels, which causes the blood pressure to grow. This is the most common cause of high blood pressure with older people who have tight and atherosclerotic altered blood vessels, which interior is tightened.
Regulating Blood Pressure
When speaking about symptoms of high blood pressure, many people try to find the difference between men and women symptoms. However, symptoms of high blood pressure in women are equal to those men are experiencing, which makes it easier to treat. To start with this, it’s important to know how blood pressure is regulated inside your body.
Blood pressure is regulated with a mechanism called renin-angiotensin-aldosterone. Loss of blood pressure causes excretion of renin, which is a kidney enzyme. This enzyme then activates angiotensin, which is a hormone causing the small muscular layer found inside arterioles to contract, increasing the blood pressure as the result. Renin tends to preserve water in the body, which makes the volume of blood in the vessels expand – heightening blood pressure. Kidneys can regulate blood pressure in several different ways as well. If the value of blood pressure increases, kidneys start to extract a higher amount of salt and water. With this the volume of blood is reduced, lowering the blood pressure. Obviously, kidneys have an important role in blood pressure regulation, so any condition affecting the kidneys can permanently or temporarily lead to hypertension. In practice we meet acute kidney diseases or kidney syndromes caused by deposits inside the kidney, which automatically make the blood pressure go up.