Hypertension and Cardiovascular Risks

According to the World Health Organization, hypertension is one of the most important causes of premature death worldwide and the number of cases is rising. Hypertension is more common than cigarette smoking, dyslipidemia, and diabetes, which are the other major risk factors.


Hypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure at or above 140 mmHg and/or a diastolic blood pressure above 90 mmHg.  It accounts for an estimated 54 percent of all strokes and 47 percent of all cardiovascular events globally. Hypertension puts strain on the heart and eventually leads to organ damage. Hypertension also puts stress on the blood vessels, making them weaker or clogged. Weak arteries can rupture easily or are more prone to having thin spots that balloon out and results in an aneurysm. Clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, are the leading cause of heart attacks.


Once diagnosed with hypertension, coronary artery disease in men and stroke in women is the common first cardiovascular events. The younger age at diagnosis, especially in people less than 50 years old, is associated with an increased cardiovascular risk. As you get older, the systolic blood pressure becomes an important predictor of the risk of cardiovascular events.


Not only is hypertension the most common causes of premature death, it tremendously increase the risk of death and comorbidities when an individual already has other cardiovascular risks such as older age, an elevated cholesterol, a low HDL-cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, and cigarette smoking.


Hypertension is a serious matter, but you can still live a high quality of life with the appropriate hypertension management, with an important first step is making lifestyle changes. In some cases, lowering salt intake, keeping weight in a healthy range, exercising and smoking cessation can control blood pressure. In other cases, you may need therapy with medications in concurrent with lifestyle changes. Talk to your physician about the kind of therapy that is best for you.


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