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Hypertension, Congestive Heart Failure

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a disorder in which the long-term forces of blood against artery walls are sufficiently high to cause many ...

Hypertension

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a disorder in which the long-term forces of blood against artery walls are sufficiently high to cause many health problems, such as cardiovascular disease. Blood pressure depends on both the amount of blood your heart pumps and the resistance you face in driving it through your arteries. A large amount of blood your heart pumps and narrow arteries contribute to high blood pressure. There are approximately 106 millimeters of mercury in a blood pressure measurement. Each number represents one unit of blood pressure.
  • Number at the top (systolic pressure). When you beat your heart, the first number measures blood pressure in your arteries.
  • Diastolic pressure is the bottom number. You measure how much blood flows through your arteries by the second number or less between every beat.
Years can go by without you knowing you have high blood pressure. Your risk of having a heart attack or stroke goes up when your blood pressure is out of control. High blood pressure can usually be detected fairly easily.

Symptoms

Although their blood pressure is dangerously high, most people with high blood pressure don't show any symptoms. Most people suffering from high blood pressure don't feel any symptoms until it reaches a severe or life-threatening level, such as headaches, breathlessness, or nosebleeds.

Causes

Blood pressure can be classified into two types.

Primary (essential) Hypertension

High blood pressure is not caused by any identifiable factors for most adults. The development of primary hypertension (essential hypertension), the most common form of high blood pressure, usually takes years.

Secondary Hypertension

The underlying cause of high blood pressure can vary from person to person. Primary hypertension is characterized by lower blood pressure than secondary hypertension. There are a variety of medical conditions and medications that lead to secondary hypertension, including:
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Thyroid problems
  • Illegal drugs
  • Obstructive sleep
  • Kidney disease
  • Some medications, such as decongestants, cold remedies, birth control pills, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription medication, could cause birth defects.

Risk Factors

High blood pressure is caused by a number of factors, including:
  • Age - The risk of high blood pressure increases with age. The likelihood of men having high blood pressure is higher up to the age of 64. After age 65, high blood pressure becomes more common in women.
  • Family history - Blood pressure is inherited from parents in most cases.
  • Obesity - Oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your tissues by blood more effectively as your weight increases. When your blood vessels are pumping more blood, your artery walls are placed under more pressure.
  • Diets high in salt (sodium) - Your body can retain fluid when you consume too much sodium, which increases your blood pressure.
  • Diets low in potassium can lead to high blood pressure - Potassium helps maintain a balance between sodium and potassium in your body cells. Heart health depends on having a healthy balance of potassium. Dehydration or other health conditions that cause you to lose too much potassium can cause sodium to build up in your body.
It is also sometimes caused by pregnancy that high blood pressure occurs.

However, children are also at risk if they have high blood pressure. Kidney disease or heart disease may cause high blood pressure in children. A poor diet and a lack of exercise have become more prevalent factors contributing to high blood pressure in kids.

Congestive Heart Failure

Chest problems, also known as congestive heart failure, cause your heart muscle to lose its pumping ability. CHF is a condition in which fluid builds up inside the heart, preventing it from pumping effectively. There are four chambers in the heart. Atria is located in the upper half of the heart, and ventricles are located in the lower half. Atria receives blood from your body while it circulates back from the ventricles as it pumps blood to organs and tissues. Your ventricles can't pump enough blood into your body, which results in CHF. In time, you may experience blood accumulating in your:
  • Lower body
  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Abdomen

Congestive Heart Failure Early Warning Signs

Despite its symptoms, congestive heart failure can be difficult to detect in its early stages. Please consider discussing the following warning signs with your physician:
  • General fatigue
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight gain
  • Feeling of nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Feeling confused
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Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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