High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually reason health problems, such as heart disease.
Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Uncontrolled high blood pressure raises your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels.
A few people with high blood pressure may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds, but these signs and symptoms aren’t specific and generally don’t happen until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.
For most adults, there’s no identifiable reason of high blood pressure. This type of high blood pressure, called primary (essential) hypertension, tends to develop gradually over many years.
Some people have high blood pressure caused by an underlying situation. This type of high blood pressure, called secondary hypertension, tends to appear suddenly and reason higher blood pressure than does primary hypertension. Various conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension, including:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Kidney problems
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Thyroid problems
High blood pressure has many risk factors, including:
Age- The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age. Until about age 64, high blood pressure is more general in men. Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after age 65.
Race– High blood pressure is particularly common among people of African heritage, often developing at an earlier age than it does in whites. Serious complications, such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure, also are more common in people of African heritage.
Family history-High blood pressure tends to run in families.