The Truth About High Blood Pressure: Risks and Remedies

Posted on:

The Truth About High Blood Pressure - Risks and Remedies

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition where the long-term force of blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. It’s a condition that often develops over many years and can affect nearly everyone eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected, and once you know you have it, you can work with your doctor to control it. 

What is High Blood Pressure? 

Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. A blood pressure reading is given in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and has two numbers: 

Systolic pressure: The first (higher) number represents the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. 

Diastolic pressure: The second (lower) number represents the pressure in your arteries between beats. 

A blood pressure reading below 120/80 mmHg is considered normal. Hypertension is typically diagnosed when blood pressure readings are consistently 140/90 mmHg or higher. 

Risks Associated with High Blood Pressure 

Persistent high blood pressure can lead to a variety of complications, including: 

  • Heart attack or stroke 
  • Aneurysm 
  • Heart failure 
  • Weakened and narrowed blood vessels in your kidneys 
  • Thickened, narrowed, or torn blood vessels in the eyes 
  • Metabolic syndrome 
  • Trouble with memory or understanding 

Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke

Causes and Symptoms 

While the exact causes of high blood pressure are not known, several factors and conditions may play a role in its development, including: 

  • Genetics 
  • Age 
  • Diet and lifestyle choices 
  • Being overweight or obese 
  • Not being physically active 
  • Tobacco use 
  • Too much salt in the diet 
  • Too little potassium in the diet 
  • Drinking too much alcohol 
  • Stress 
  • Certain chronic conditions 

Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels

Prevention and Remedies 

Lifestyle changes can significantly reduce high blood pressure and even lower your risk for hypertension in the future. Here’s what you can do: 

Eat healthily: Maintain a diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. 

Reduce sodium (salt) in your diet: Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure. 

Limit alcohol consumption: Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. By drinking alcohol only in moderation — generally one drink a day for women, or two a day for men — you can potentially lower your blood pressure. 

Quit smoking: Smoking increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. 

Cut back on caffeine: The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debated. 

Reduce your stress: Chronic stress may contribute to high blood pressure. 

Monitor your blood pressure at home: Home monitoring can help you keep tabs on your blood pressure. 

Get regular physical activity: Regular physical activity — such as 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure. 

Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of high blood pressure. 

In some cases, medication is prescribed for high blood pressure. There are many different types of blood pressure medications, and sometimes two or more drugs work better than one. 


High blood pressure is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems. “The silent killer” because it has no symptoms, so many people are unaware that they have it. That’s why it is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly. The good news is that you can take steps to prevent high blood pressure or to control it if your blood pressure is already high. 

Remember, a healthy lifestyle is your first line of defense in preventing and controlling high blood pressure. Work with your healthcare provider to develop a plan that works for you.