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High Blood Pressure: Why Is It Important?

Updated: Apr 2, 2023

doctor taking the blood pressure of a patient

Around 47% of all adults in the United States suffer from High Blood Pressure (also known as hypertension). Most of them occur in the southern states. Also, the most affected race is blacks. And it is more common among men than women. It is not a bad idea for you to have a clearer picture of what is high blood pressure, its causes, risk factors, complications, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

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What is high blood pressure?

When the blood passes through the blood vessels, it exerts pressure against them. If the pressure exceeds certain specific numbers, it is said to be high. The two numbers that you have seen when your blood pressure is checked are systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure represents the pressure in your arteries when the heart contracts to pump blood to the rest of the body. While diastolic pressure is the pressure in your arteries at the moment that the heart is not contracting but receiving the blood back from the body.


There is no known specific cause for developing primary hypertension, which is the one that progresses over the years. However, secondary hypertension, which comes as an effect of another medical problem, can be caused by conditions like:

Risk factors

Several risks factors have been identified:

  • Smoking

  • Overweight/Obesity

  • Family history

  • Older age

  • African American

  • Salty foods

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Illegal drugs

  • Stress

  • Low potassium


Over time, when high blood pressure is not controlled and left untreated, it will cause damage to the blood vessels. For example, it can cause a bulge (aneurysm) in the artery wall that can rupture. The arteries can also lose elasticity and become narrow, limiting the passage of blood. Here, you can suffer coronary artery disease, which leads to chest pain (angina), irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), and heart attacks. Your brain also suffers the consequences. For example, you could have mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks), strokes, and dementia. Your kidneys and your eyes can also be affected. And last but not less important, both men and women can have sexual dysfunction when their blood pressure is out of control. When the heart has to pump harder to move the blood out, it can make it get enlarged. Also, so much effort can weaken the heart, leading to heart failure and potential death.


cartoon of old woman with pictures around representing th signs and symptoms of high blood pressure

In most cases, if you don’t get a regular medical checkup, you won’t notice that you have high blood pressure since most of the time there won’t be any signs or symptoms. That is why is called “the silent killer”. When you develop symptoms, the blood pressure is usually very high and they can include:

  • Severe headaches

  • Visual disturbance

  • Dizziness

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Blood in urine

  • Nosebleeds


Diagnosing you with high blood pressure will take several blood pressure readings in three or more different appointments. Only one blood pressure reading is not enough. Blood pressure can vary during the day, plus many patients have their blood pressure up when they are in a doctor’s office. Therefore, you will be ordered to use a blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure at home at different times of the day and keep a record to bring to your next doctor’s appointment. Once the diagnosis is made, several other tests will be needed to know the extent of the damage in other organs.

Know the numbers

table showing the current blood pressure guideline categories

Prevention and Treatment

The best thing that you can do to improve your blood pressure is to change your lifestyle habits. It is recommended to have a healthy diet, low in salt and low in fats. Also, exercise regularly, do not drink alcohol, and do not smoke. Your doctor will offer a medication treatment depending on your current health status. It is very important to take your medications daily as prescribed to keep your blood pressure under control. At first, maybe a few adjustments will be needed as your body adjusts to the changes.

High blood pressure is a manageable condition if you follow healthy lifestyle habits and your medical recommendations. Many of its complications can be avoided with proper care, too. Please stay healthy and stay tuned for the next topic.



1. High blood pressure dangers: Hypertension’s effects on your body. Mayo Clinic. Accessed on January 17, 2022.

2. Causes of High Blood Pressure. WebMD. Accessed January 17, 2022.

3. High blood pressure (hypertension). Mayo Clinic. Accessed January 17, 2022.

4. High Blood Pressure. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed on January 17, 2022.


This Site cannot and does not contain physician advice. The physician information is provided for general and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. We do not provide any kind of physician advice. THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE OR THE MOBILE APPLICATION IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.


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136 views8 comments


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Hypertension is definitely a disease that we should look out for and knowing more about it is a right step towards aiming to be healthier. Here's to living healthier!

Dr. W. Santiago
Dr. W. Santiago
Mar 29, 2022
Replying to

Yes, we should be checked regularly, as many times it does not shows symptoms. That is why it is called "the silent killer". Thanks for commenting!


Nury Brown
Nury Brown
Mar 29, 2022

When I lived with my parents, we used to have our blood pressure checked at least once a week. One day we noticed that my dad's blood pressure was higher than usual, so we started making some lifestyle changes like the ones you mentioned here, like eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Great post as usual!

Dr. W. Santiago
Dr. W. Santiago
Mar 29, 2022
Replying to

A healthy lifestyle is the key to prevent, and treat many conditions. Thanks for commenting!


Very interesting article and useful to know the signs to look for.

Dr. W. Santiago
Dr. W. Santiago
Mar 27, 2022
Replying to

Yes, it is very important to know all that to be able to act before it is too late. Thanks for commenting!


Lola Bonett
Lola Bonett
Jan 17, 2022

Thanks! Good information.

Dr. W. Santiago
Dr. W. Santiago
Feb 10, 2022
Replying to

You are welcome!


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