High blood pressure, or hypertension, has gained popularity as a silent killer, and rightly so because the damage it does is not so apparent. In this condition, the blood force against artery walls is consistently high, leading to serious health issues like heart disease, stroke, or kidney damage. Although lifestyle choices and predisposition of genetic factors contribute to this, does an infection also cause high blood pressure? Let’s find out.
Understanding High Blood Pressure
Before we get on the road to establishing the link between these two, it is a must to have adequate knowledge about hypertension itself.
Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood against artery walls when the heart beats. The normal range is 120/80 mmHg, and a deviation to 130/80 mmHg marks the condition of hypertension if the reading is consistent.
Causes of High BP
Many factors can be a reason for this:
- Lifestyle choices
- Chronic kidney disease.
- Poor diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Excessive alcohol
Can Infections Cause High Blood Pressure?
Infections are a result of harmful microorganisms replicating and damaging the body. Your immune system is a complex of cells and proteins that respond by activating various defense mechanisms, one of which is inflammation.
While inflammation is critical for defending the body, persistent or severe inflammation can harm blood vessels, specifically the endothelium.
So, yes. Research suggests that certain infections may cause high blood pressure through various mechanisms:
1. Inflammation-induced Endothelial Dysfunction
Chronic infections lead to persistent inflammation that hampers the endothelium. The blood vessels lose their ability to relax and contract properly, which contributes to high blood pressure.
2. Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RAAS) Activation
There are chances of RAAS activation due to infection and more than normal activeness results in vasoconstriction and sodium retention; both serve as a means to elevate blood pressure.
3. Direct Invasion of Germs in Blood Vessel Walls
Infection-causing germs may directly invade blood vessels, causing damage and triggering inflammation and, consequently, high BP.
4. Immune System Dysfunction
Chronic infections and consequent inflammation hamper the function of the immune system, leading to an overactive response.
Treatment and Management of the Condition
Combining lifestyle modifications along with appropriate medications is one way to manage high blood pressure with an infection.
Lifestyle Modifications Include
- Adopting a heart-healthy diet.
- Regular moderate workout.
- Stress management through activities like meditation and yoga.
- ACE Inhibitors
- ARBs (angiotensin Receptor Blockers)
- CCBs (Calcium Channel Blockers)
Ongoing research explores new treatments for hypertension.
All in all, infections play a pivotal role in increasing blood pressure by damaging the blood vessels through chronic inflammation. To manage this condition, one must make lifestyle changes and keep up with proper medications to lessen the effects. We urge you to contact our expert, Dr. Rajesh Maheshwari, MD, at San Ramon Urgent Care Clinic to help you in case you have more questions in mind. Call (925) 361-5959 (San Ramon), (209) 825-5155 (Manteca), or (209) 983-9000 (Lathrop) for more information.