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More than 100 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. However, high blood pressure is an invisible condition, so you may not even realize you have it.
This can be dangerous, which is why it’s essential to recognize the symptoms of this condition.
For example, are those headaches you’re having normal, or are they high blood pressure headaches?
We’ve put together this guide to help you learn more about what causes high blood pressure, how to spot the symptoms, and what to do next. So let’s get started below.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
First of all, it’s important to understand there are two types of high blood pressure, and different things cause them.
Here’s a quick look at both types, how they’re different, and what leads to these conditions.
If someone has high blood pressure, they most likely have primary hypertension (also called essential hypertension). It is the most common type of high blood pressure, and anyone can develop this condition.
There is no apparent cause of primary hypertension. This condition simply forms over time.
But several components may play a part in the development of high blood pressure or at least increase your risk of getting it in the future.
If several members of your family have high blood pressure, you may be more likely to develop it. This doesn’t mean that high blood pressure is always passed down from parents to children, but genetics may be one cause of this condition.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle
Living an unhealthy lifestyle can also lead to high blood pressure. For example, things like bad diet, lack of exercise, being overweight and more can be possible culprits for this condition.
If you have a poor diet or lack of physical activity, you should focus on making some lifestyle changes, especially if other members of your family have high blood pressure. Lifestyle changes can help lower your risk of getting it yourself.
- Bodily Changes
New changes in your body might trigger the development of high blood pressure.
For example, let’s say your kidney stops functioning the way it used to as you get older. This can throw off the natural balance of fluid and salt in your body, which can, in turn, lead to high blood pressure.
There’s a chance than several bodily changes can lead to this condition.
This type of high blood pressure can develop much quicker than primary hypertension, and it can also be much more severe. But again, there isn’t a specific known cause of this condition.
Several things might contribute to it, though. Most of these things are other medical conditions, including the following:
- Kidney disease
- Endocrine tumors
- Adrenal gland issues
- Thyroid issues
- Congenital heart defects
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Certain medication side effects
You may also develop secondary hypertension if you abuse illegal drugs or alcohol. Drinking alcohol responsibly, on the other hand, shouldn’t lead to this type of problem.
What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?
There are several symptoms of high blood pressure you should recognize. Remember, many people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it. Because of this, you should keep an eye on your health and watch out for the following things:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Changes in your vision
- Blood in your urine
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should get medical attention right away. Of course, experiencing dizziness or headaches doesn’t necessarily mean you have high blood pressure, but if you ignore these symptoms, you might be putting yourself in danger.
It’s better to go to the doctor and get a negative result than put it off and end up in serious trouble.
What to Do If You Think You Have High Blood Pressure
If you think you have high blood pressure, go to the doctor right away. You should get regular blood tests every year to make sure your readings are normal. Testing is especially important if you have any of the risk factors for developing this condition.
Your doctor will be able to tell you if you have high blood pressure and what you should do next.
How to Diagnose High Blood Pressure
Diagnosing high blood pressure is a simple process. Your doctor will simply give you a blood pressure reading.
But just because the results of the blood pressure reading were high doesn’t mean you have high blood pressure. Your doctor will instead recommend several more blood pressure readings over the next few weeks.
If your blood pressure remains high, they will then perform a few more tests, such as a urine test, EKG, cholesterol screening, or an ultrasound of your kidneys. These tests will help them rule out any underlying issues that may be causing high blood pressure.
After this, your doctor can diagnose you with high blood pressure, and they will begin treating you right away. You might have to take medication, which you can learn more about here.
Recognizing High Blood Pressure Headaches and Other Symptoms
Do you have high blood pressure headaches or just regular headaches? If you aren’t sure, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. Since headaches can be a symptom of high blood pressure, you shouldn’t ignore them.
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