Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure is a chronic disease that affects over a billion people worldwide. It is a condition in which the pressure of the blood in the arteries is higher than the normal. It is usually caused by a combination of several factors like genetic conditions, lifestyle and diet as well as a side effect of certain medications and other health conditions.
It is a chronic illness and untreated, it often leads to life threatening conditions like heart problems, blindness, chronic kidney disorders, stroke and even heart failure.
Usually high blood pressure is not marked by any particular or visible symptoms which makes a dangerous condition. Often it goes undetected, ravaging the body. In a number of cases it goes undetected till the person gets a stroke or suffers from loss of vision, which are then traced back to a high blood pressure. Sometimes people with hypertension experience symptoms like headache, light headedness, vertigo etc.
Singer Toni Braxton suffers from hypertension and is on regular medication to bring down her high blood pressure. It gives her stability and health to go through her life unhindered.
Curly Howard from the Three Stooges also suffered from hypertension, which is attributed to his substantial weight gain. However, as modern medication to control the disease wasn’t available to him in those times, he succumbed to a stroke.
32nd US President, Franklin D Roosevelt, had a high blood pressure problem. Unfortunately, due to the lack of effective medication, it was not possible to control his condition, which eventually took his life.
Three-time Grammy Award winner, song writer and composer, Barry White suffered from renal failure, that has been traced back to his history of hypertension which went largely untreated.
Oprah Winfrey, talk show host, producer, actress and philanthropist, suffered from blood pressure issues owing to her unhealthy lifestyle. She pegged this to her consumption of excess salt. With a controlled diet and lifestyle management, the diva is successfully controlling her blood pressure and leading a healthy life.
‘American Idol’ contestant, David Cook was rushed to the hospital recently for palpitations and high blood pressure. He was soon discharged and is doing better with medication.
Singer and actress, Whitney Houston’s autopsy reveled her coronary issues were a result of her undiagnosed hypertension. It is suspected that her cocaine abuse led to a spike in her blood pressure, which already ran in her family.
Donna Hartley-Wass, the British Olympic star was known to be suffering from irregular heart beat owing to her high blood pressure.
Legendary baseball player, Joshua Gibson, popularly known as Babe Ruth suffered from hypertension. At 31, with quite a bit of weight gain, and a bunch of laurels to his name, everyone thought that the star was ready to hang his shoes. But he had different plans. With a carefully designed regimen, he lost substantial weight, which improved his blood pressure as well. He made a smashing comeback in his new form.
Actor Michael Clarke Duncan suffered from a bevy of illnesses, hypertension being one of them. Coupled with his kidney problems, failing pancreatic functions, his body started giving up. By the time he was properly diagnosed, it was too late and his health could not be controlled with medication.
The most important causes of high blood pressure are unhealthy diet, especially the consumption of excess salt, lack of activity, excess body weight, smoking, and sometimes reactions to medicines. People who consume certain drugs like cocaine, are also known to exhibit a higher blood pressure.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a serious condition which has life threatening consequences, if left untreated. It can be managed with lifestyle changes, exercise, good diet and medication. Everyone, especially over the age of 30, should get their blood pressure checked periodically. Even completely healthy adults as well as children should not be exempted from this simple test.