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Does chronic high blood pressure decrease your lifespan?

Team AckoOct 14, 2022

According to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, in India, Hypertension is the leading cause of health issues and mortality. It is thought to be a major factor leading to 1.6 million deaths from heart disease and stroke per year. Hypertension is also a factor in 24% of deaths from coronary heart disease and 57% of deaths from stroke. In this article, we aim to shed light on this serious issue and answer if chronic high blood pressure decreases your lifespan.

Does Chronic High Blood Pressure Decrease Your Lifespan?

Contents

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What causes high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of your blood on the artery's inner walls. Throughout the day, it fluctuates as it should. It drops when you're sleeping or in a relaxed state, generally rising in the morning and when you're excited, stressed, or during physical activity.

However, if your resting blood pressure is too high, it might weaken, stiffen, or scar blood vessels. This effect can weaken your bones, increase your risk of fractures, increase the risk of stroke and heart failure, and cause vision loss, kidney issues, dementia, and circulation issues like peripheral artery disease, which can lead to leg pain. It can also increase your risk of having a heart attack.

Can chronic high blood pressure decrease your lifespan?

Since high blood pressure or Hypertension has no symptoms and can continue untreated for a very long time, both of which pose serious health concerns, it is sometimes called a silent killer. A blood pressure reading of 180/120 or greater translates into an 80% likelihood of death within a year if untreated, with an average survival rate of ten months. Long-term, uncontrolled high blood pressure can potentially cause kidney disease, blindness, heart attack, and stroke.

Early detection and blood pressure management would reduce the cases of cardiovascular (coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure), cerebrovascular (ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke), and renal (chronic kidney disease) diseases that are related to Hypertension. 

It is a major "modifiable risk factor" for cardiovascular and renal disease in India. According to estimates, a 2 mm reduction in systolic blood pressure in a majority of cases would stop 1,51,000 deaths from coronary artery disease and 1,53,000 fatalities from a stroke in India.

How are patients with high blood pressure categorised?

The following categories are used to group patients with Hypertension.

Grade Systolic blood pressure Diastolic blood pressure
Grade 1 Hypertension 140-159 mm 90-99 mm
Grade 2 Hypertension 160-179 mm 100-109 mm
Grade 3 Hypertension 180 or above 110 or above
Isolated systolic Hypertension More than 140 mm Less than 90mm
Hypertensive urgency More than 180 mm More than > 120 mm
Hypertensive emergency Severe Hypertension along with neurological, renal, or cardiac dysfunction.

Tips to prevent or manage high blood pressure

Here are some tips that can help prevent or manage Hypertension, i.e. high blood pressure.

  • Go for regular health check-ups.

During a health check-up, a doctor or a nurse will screen you for high blood pressure. This practice is common at all types of clinics or hospitals, including in rural areas. This type of screening helps to identify people who can potentially have high blood pressure so that suitable lifestyle changes can be suggested to prevent them from developing Hypertension.

  • Engage in various stress management activities

Although it's unclear whether mind-body therapy lowers blood pressure or minimises the risk, it is known that the body's stress response causes the production of chemicals that momentarily increase blood pressure. 

If you consistently engage in a stress-relieving activity, like physical activity, progressive relaxation, or breathing exercises, you might feel better. In those with high blood pressure, one method, meditation, has been found to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

  • Take your medicines regularly

Your medication may consist of drugs that help you maintain your blood pressure. If you miss a dose, your blood pressure can increase and lead to health issues. Thus, you must take the prescribed medicines regularly for the duration suggested by the doctor. 

  • Give up smoking

Smoking harms arteries and increases the chance of developing heart disease. The chemicals in tobacco products also cause blood pressure to rise when you smoke.

  • Opt for an active lifestyle

Your risk of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke, can be decreased by maintaining an active lifestyle. Exercising has also been connected to enhanced cognitive and mental wellness. You can enhance your health without being a long-distance runner. The most crucial factor is that you continue to be active.

  • Add important nutrients to your diet

Your body's ability to control blood pressure is aided by the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are present in low-fat and fat-free dairy products like milk and yoghurt, as well as in vegetables and dried beans. 

A deficit can cause your blood pressure to rise. High salt levels, present in many processed meals, can also cause blood volume to increase by making your body retain water, and they can even tighten small blood vessels. Blood pressure may also be increased by saturated fat, which can be found in many processed foods, including meat, cheese, butter, full-fat dairy products, and butter.

Frequently asked questions

Following are some questions and answers about high blood pressure.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

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High blood pressure can develop even when no unusual symptoms are present. However, some symptoms of high blood pressure include anxiety, nosebleeds, palpitations, moderate to severe headaches, shortness of breath or a sensation of pulsations in the neck.

Can sleep deprivation increase blood pressure?

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Your blood pressure may increase if you don't get enough sleep. Less than six hours of sleep every night may cause a more pronounced rise in blood pressure. Getting inadequate sleep could worsen your condition if you already have high blood pressure.

Will drinking a lot of water drop my blood pressure?

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Drinking the necessary amount of water can help in controlling your blood pressure. The human heart contains 73% water; thus, no other liquid is more effective at regulating blood pressure than drinking the required amount of water.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. As this content piece is not vetted by a medical professional, please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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