Hypertension

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is when a person’s blood pressure is regularly above 140/90 mmHg. It is also called arterial hypertension. This heightened pressure causes damage to the heart and surrounding arteries. People with high blood pressure are more likely to experience strokes and heart attacks. Symptoms are not apparent in early stages of hypertension, but yearly checks with your doctor will help you avoid the risks associated with high blood pressure. There are two types of hypertension: primary, also known as essential, and secondary. The causes of primary hypertension are unknown, and its onset is sudden. Secondary hypertension can be caused by poor diet, use of drugs, whether prescription or illegal, thyroid issues and other congenital problems. Diet, exercise, and medication can help lower high blood pressure, thus decreasing the likelihood of stroke or heart attack.

Hypertension Symptoms

Symptoms of high blood pressure are usually negligible until they cause more serious problems. Early sufferers of high blood pressure sometimes report symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and bloody noses, but this is infrequent.

  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bloody nose
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat

Hypertension Causes

Primary hypertension’s cause is unknown. Secondary hypertension is most often caused by renal problems, although it can also be caused by poor diet, drug use or other health problems.

Primary hypertension causes

  • Unknown, tends to develop slowly

Secondary hypertension causes

  • Renal (kidney) problems
  • Thyroid problems
  • Obesity
  • Certain birth control pills and other prescription drugs
  • Use of illegal drugs, especially cocaine and other amphetamines
  • Sleep apnea

Hypertension Diagnosis

High blood pressure is diagnosed with a series of blood pressure tests. If high blood pressure is noticed, your doctor will check blood pressure 2-3 more times over the course of 1-3 more visits.

  • If your blood pressure has regularly been above 140/90mmHg, your doctor may diagnose you with hypertension.
  • Further tests may be run, including urine or blood tests.

Hypertension Treatment

Treatment of hypertension is dependent on the cause and severity of the condition. If detected early, hypertension is usually treated with certain lifestyle changes to prevent further deterioration. These changes may include a different diet, increased exercise or anxiety/stress reduction methods. If the case is more severe, medication may be prescribed in addition to the lifestyle changes.

Lifestyle Modifications

  • Reduction of sodium in diet
  • Vegetarian diet or reduced red meat consumption
  • Exercise, especially aerobic

Medication

  • ACE inhibitors
  • Beta blockers
  • Diuretics
  • ARBs
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Renin blockers
  • Often, medications will be combined for maximum effectiveness