What causes High Blood Pressure?
The most important reason of high blood pressure or high BP, which pretty much all of us have after a certain age is “retention of salt and water”. Kidneys usually maintain very good electrolyte balance and they get rid of any extra salt and water. So up to age 40, we do not have to worry about it but after age 40, they start retaining some salt and water. As we have more salt and water in our body, our blood pressure starts going up and we call it “essential hypertension”. It is just a part of us getting years added to the life. These changes happen as we go through our years of life.
You have to understand that when you have a low blood pressure, the doctors give normal saline or salt, or they can make you drink saltwater and your blood pressure will go up. At the same time when you have high blood pressure, the doctors give you a water pill which will make you lose more water and salt. If you lose water, you will lose salt with it and that will bring down the blood pressure.
Whenever you start having high blood pressure, it is very important to see a physician because retention of salt and water is the most important reason for high blood pressure. But a physician still needs to do some screening, making sure that you are not getting high blood pressure for any other reason. For example, kidney failure also causes high blood pressure. There are several acute kidney situations which also lead to high blood pressure.
Up to age 40, our body does everything to maintain the blood pressure within the normal range i.e. 120/80. I mean our body has a very complex system of check and balance to maintain our blood pressure and we do fine. But the bottom-line is irrespective of our age or irrespective of any medical condition, our body has to absolutely maintain all the body functions best, and our body functions the best at blood pressure 120/80.
While nothing is going to happen in one month or one year but over the years, there will be serious complications and we cannot even reverse those complications unless we take medicines to maintain normal blood pressure. Anytime we start paying attention to managing our blood pressure, we can stop or delay the progress of harmful changes in our body which cut down our lifespan.
It is mentioned in our medical literature that elevation of just 5 mm of blood pressure cuts down our lifespan by 5 years. Think about it!
A gentleman who is in late 80s with blood pressure about 200/110 and he feels good also, but the important thing is if such a person maintains a normal blood pressure of 120/80, then he can easily cross 100 years. This is no magic thing.
If you have a high blood pressure, you will pay the price for it. There are no if’s and but’s.
Please do not be fooled by Hollywood and Bollywood. I have been practicing medicine for last 40 years and have done specialization in diabetes, blood pressure, and kidneys. With all my experience, I can tell you that in real life, you never see those miracles. Rather other way round is true. You see the complications of high blood pressure leading to stroke, paralysis, heart failure or kidney failure again and again.