"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

I’m perfectly healthy and yet I actually have hypertension. Why?

July 12, 2023 – Can a seemingly healthy person develop hypertension? The answer is yes: you possibly can develop primary hypertension, or hypertension, even in the event you exercise usually, eat a healthy weight-reduction plan, and don't smoke.

Primary hypertension is hypertension with an unknown cause – even though it is usually as a consequence of family history and genetic predisposition in addition to lifestyle and other aspects. Secondary hypertension is hypertension as a consequence of a disease equivalent to Kidney failure, Sleep apnea, pre-eclampsiaor Thyroid disease.

Nearly 50% of adults within the United States, or about 119 million people, have stage 1 hypertension (blood pressure of 130/80 or higher) or stage 2 hypertension (140/90 or higher). after based on the CDC. High blood pressure can result in heart disease – Main cause of deaths amongst adults within the United States – but only about one in 4 individuals with hypertension has the disease under control.

Martin Cassels, 57, falls into the category of primary hypertension. He walks 5 km every day and has maintained a standard weight for his 6'1″ frame over the years. Cassels was surprised when his GP diagnosed him with hypertension during a routine check-up at age 40. Cassels had to lose pounds to normalise his blood pressure. He followed a strict diet and exercise plan and even went down a trouser size.

Losing weight ultimately led to an increase in Cassels' blood pressure – a fairly rare phenomenon, said Oscar Cingolani, MD, associate professor of medicine and director of the hypertension program at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.

“When it involves weight reduction, it's good to be obese. If you're not obese or obese, weight reduction often has no effect on hypertension,” says Cingolani. “I'm not aware of any cases where weight reduction increases blood pressure.”

What happened next threw him completely off track. “She [the doctor] said I needed to lose another 5 pounds,” Cassels said. “I'm a pretty slim person anyway. I thought, 'What? I mean, I'm going to kill myself.'”

One day, Cassels met a neighbor who happened to be a physician and casually told him about his hypertension problem. “It's not that bad,” said the neighbor after hearing Cassels' blood pressure readings. “It's borderline.”

Cassels went to his local emergency room for a second opinion. The doctor there said that some people simply have higher blood pressure – and treatment could help. Cassels was given a low-dose blood pressure medication. Since then, his blood pressure has been stable.

If you lead a healthy, energetic lifestyle and haven't any symptoms of the disease, listed below are some ways to stop a possible diagnosis of hypertension and suggestions for keeping this “silent disease” under control.

How common is primary hypertension in America?

According to Cingolani, primary hypertension accounts for about 90% of all cases of hypertension within the United States. Primary hypertension may end up from inheriting various genes from parents, Cingolani says. However, research on this topic remains to be ongoing.

“We have identified certain genes that are present in people with hypertension but not in others,” says Cingolani. “So unfortunately we have no way of predicting whether or not someone will develop hypertension. However, we do know that the likelihood of someone being born with hypertension increases as they get older if their parents have hypertension.”

Cassels says his 83-year-old mother developed hypertension. He suspects he inherited the hypertension genes from her.

Remember: High blood pressure will also be passed down through prolonged relations, equivalent to aunts, uncles and grandparents, says Cingolani.

In addition to genetic predisposition, hypertension will also be brought on by obesityEat an excessive amount of saltlow physical activity and social determinants of health – equivalent to socioeconomic status and lack of medical health insurance, says Rebecca Opole, MD, an internal medicine specialist on the University of Kansas Health System.

What signs indicate that you might have primary hypertension?

High blood pressure is often often known as the “silent killer.” An individual can have hypertension and have a heart attack or stroke “without any warning or clear early signs,” says Dr. Shannon Hoos-Thompson, a cardiovascular medicine specialist on the University of Kansas Health System.

“If blood pressure rises rapidly, HeadacheVisual disturbances, perception or concentration difficulties are made tougher, Chest discomfortand sudden and protracted fatigue may occur,” Hoos-Thompson said.

In patients who have had primary hypertension for a long time (months or years), treatment may not be effective immediately because their body is already accustomed to higher blood pressure levels.

This is why regular check-ups with your family doctor are so important: without an examination, you probably wouldn't notice that you have high blood pressure.

Can primary hypertension be prevented?

Checking your blood pressure regularly can help you prevent the disease or get treatment early. Cingolani recommends buying a home blood pressure monitor rather than waiting for your next doctor's appointment. If you are obese or overweight and regularly eat salty foods, changing your diet could “prevent or delay hypertension for years to come back,” he said.

An active lifestyle can also have a positive impact. Try to do at least 10 minutes of light to moderate intensity exercise three days a week, but 30 minutes of physical activity is ideal, says Hoos-Thompson. Replacing highly processed foods with nutritious fruits and vegetables and limiting carbohydrates and fats – such as pasta, bread and other starchy foods – can also help you maintain normal blood pressure.

Getting enough sleep – at least six hours – is also crucial, said Hoos-Thompson. “People with sleep disorders are more at risk of hypertension and resistant hypertension.”