Your blood pressure can be elevated by alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity. You can reduce your risk of getting high blood pressure by keeping your body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 22.9 (see below table).
Hypertension usually causes no symptoms, but often leads to the damage of various body organs in the long-term. It is for this reason that high blood pressure or hypertension is referred to as “the silent killer”. Over time, it can lead to damage of the heart and blood vessels, leading to stroke, heart attack or renal failure. Occasionally, when the blood pressure is extremely high, headaches, dizziness or alterations in vision can be experienced.
Older people are at a higher risk of developing hypertension. Most of the patients are found to have no cause for the high blood pressure and are categorised as essential hypertension. About 10% of high blood pressure patients have it as a result of kidney diseases or hormonal disorders (secondary hypertension).
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