Elevated blood pressure refers to a slightly higher than ideal blood pressure level, measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association classify blood pressure into four main categories:
Elevated blood pressure is considered a classification rather than a distinct health condition, unlike hypertension. However, if left unmanaged, elevated blood pressure often progresses over time. Regular monitoring and control are crucial. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity and a balanced diet, can aid in preventing and managing high blood pressure.
It’s important to note that uncontrolled elevated blood pressure and hypertension elevate the risks of heart attacks and strokes. Some studies suggest that prolonged elevated blood pressure could contribute to changes in cognitive functions such as memory, language, thinking, or judgment, leading to cognitive decline.
Detecting elevated blood pressure can be challenging due to the absence of noticeable symptoms. Regular blood pressure assessments become essential for its identification. These assessments can be conducted during healthcare visits or conveniently at home using a monitoring device. Children should have their blood pressure checked during routine well–check appointments from the age of 3 onwards. For those with high blood pressure, regular monitoring is crucial. As for adults aged 18 and above, it is recommended to undergo a blood pressure check at least once every two years. However, individuals with elevated blood pressure or those with additional heart disease risk factors might require more frequent monitoring.
Increased pressure on artery walls can elevate blood pressure. Accumulation of fats, cholesterol, and substances on artery walls (atherosclerosis) can cause this. Conversely, high blood pressure (hypertension) can lead to atherosclerosis. Causes of elevated blood pressure are sometimes unknown.
Elevated blood pressure can be caused by various factors and medications, including:
Even young children can have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure risk factors include:
While more common in adults, elevated and high blood pressure can also affect children. In some cases, kidney or heart issues can lead to high blood pressure in children. Unhealthy lifestyle habits like poor diet, obesity, and lack of exercise also contribute to increased blood pressure in kids.
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