How does Hypertension happen?
The walls of arteries are highly elastic, made up of layers of elastic fibres. Their design allows them to expand and contract with the changes in pressure (Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure) associated with blood flow, ensuring a constant smooth delivery of oxygen and nutrients to smaller blood vessels within your brain, organs, muscles and tissue. As we become older, these elastic fibres can become stiff, reducing their ability to expand. This process leads to a gradual increase in Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure.
Apart from the natural aging process, if the blood pressure in your arteries becomes elevated due to certain lifestyle or medical reasons and stays at this higher pressure, it can cause small tears along the inside of the arterial walls. The injured tissue swells and healing substances such as white blood cells collect around the tears to promote healing. Fat and cholesterol travelling within the blood may also attach to these swollen injury sites, slowly building up a plaque. This plaque thickens and hardens the inner surface of the artery limiting the circulation of blood and oxygen, a condition called Atherosclerosis.