Overview – Hypertension

Overview – Hypertension

Hypertension, caused by a high blood pressure, occurs when your blood pressure rises to a level that is above the normal levels. A high blood pressure is related to the amount of blood being pumped by the heart and the resistance your arteries have to the blood flow. If your heart pumps more than the normal amount of blood, your arteries start getting narrower and this can lead to high blood pressure. Hypertension usually develops over the years, and it is a condition that affects almost everyone at some point in their life.

Symptoms of hypertension
A rise in the blood pressure can occur suddenly or be a slow process. In either case, there are no particular signs and symptoms associated with high blood pressure. Even if your blood pressure reaches extremely dangerous levels, there are no symptoms that can conclude the occurrence of the condition.

Headaches, shortness of breath, and bleeding nose are some signs of high blood pressure; however, these signs occur only when the blood pressure reaches a point that is life threatening.

Causes of hypertension
There are two types of hypertension: primary and secondary.

Primary hypertension does not have a defined cause. This type is common among adults and usually is developed over many years.

Secondary hypertension, however, is induced by external sources that are introduced to the body or by an underlying condition. This type of hypertension usually occurs suddenly, and the rate at which the blood pressure rises is higher. Along with this, the rise in the blood pressure is also significantly high, as it can also reach a life-threatening stage. Some of the medications and conditions that lead to secondary hypertension have been mentioned below:

  • Kidney and thyroid problems
  • Abuse of cocaine or amphetamines
  • Alcohol abuse or chronic alcohol use
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Medications such as birth-control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, pain relievers, and even some prescription drugs

Diagnosis of hypertension
Hypertension is induced by a rise in the blood pressure above normal levels, which means that a blood pressure test should help you diagnose hypertension. The result of a blood pressure test can fall in one of the four categories mentioned below:

  • A 120/80 mm Hg result is related to a normal blood pressure level.
  • An elevated blood pressure sees the systolic pressure between 120 to 129 mm Hg and the diastolic pressure below 80 mm Hg.
  • If the systolic pressure is between 130 to 139 mm Hg and the diastolic is between 80 to 89 mm Hg, then it can be considered as stage 1 hypertension.
  • If the systolic pressure is between 140 mm Hg or higher and the diastolic is between 90 mm Hg or higher, then it can be considered as stage 1 hypertension.

Treatment of hypertension
An effective treatment for hypertension can occur if there is a drop in the blood pressure level from high to normal. In most cases, your doctor will ask you to make essential changes in your lifestyle, these changes would include following a healthy diet with less salt, exercise on a regular basis, reduce or quit smoking, and maintain a good BMI (Body Mass Index).

If changes in the lifestyle are unable to encourage normal blood pressure levels, then your doctor might suggest some prescribed medication that can help your blood pressure under control.