Hypertension, high blood pressure, is a serious condition where one’s heart is pumping blood at an abnormal rate, causing elevated blood pressure. While this condition may just be temporary from nerves, most hypertension sufferers have to do a lot of work to get their blood pressure down to normal levels. This condition can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other problems associated with organ damage or failure. Older adults and senior citizens are at elevated risk if they have hypertension.
Normal blood pressure is around 120/80, with 120 being peak pressure and 80 being minimum pressure. Between 120/80 and 139/89, you are considered to be in prehypertension, meaning you are at risk for hypertension. From 140/90 and up, you are considered to have hypertension. Usually, when you are first diagnosed, the doctor will want to have a physical to prove if you have this condition or not. That is because certain factors, such as mood, nervousness or excitement can elevate your heart rate. A physical will prove if you really have this condition.
When hypertension is diagnosed, it falls into two categories: essential and secondary. Secondary is when the direct cause is known, such as organ failure, kidney disease or certain pills. However, about 95% of all cases are essential, meaning the direct cause is unknown. Factors that can lead to hypertension are:
-Sedentary lifestyle and lack of activity
-High levels of salt
About 33% of hypertension sufferers do not know they have this condition. This is one of the many reasons people should have their blood pressure checked regularly.
Even active seniors and older adults are at risk for hypertension. Though living a healthy lifestyle reduces the damage done to organs throughout life, aging does slow down the recovery process in the body. Although you might be incredibly active and feel great, get a physical to check this out.