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When the blood pressure in your arteries is too high, you have hypertension (high blood pressure). 120/80 (systolic/diastolic pressure) is the ideal range for this force, which is referred to as pressure. If you have hypertension, that means that your blood pressure is consistently 140/90 or higher. Blood pressure can also be measured using higher numbers, such as 150/95, but your doctor will likely consider 140/90 to be "high."
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The long-term goal for people with hypertension should be to get their blood pressure down to below 130/80. Hypertension raises a person's risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Lowering blood pressure considerably reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke as well as kidney failure. This is good news for those who have high blood pressure.
Types of Hypertension
There are two types−
Primary hypertension, also known as essential hypertension, constitutes about 90% of cases of high blood pressure. With this type of hypertension, there are no obvious symptoms, no underlying cause that can be identified, and patients usually have no family history of high blood pressure. About half of those suffering from primary hypertension don't even know they have it, according to the AHA. If left untreated, this form of hypertension can lead to life-threatening complications like heart attack, stroke, and renal damage.
The fact that there is no identifiable cause of primary hypertension may seem disheartening but it is actually the first step in treating the condition. A doctor will typically conduct a physical examination and run some tests to rule out other causes such as kidney damage or an irregular heartbeat. Once these conditions have been ruled out, the physician will focus on lifestyle changes in order to control blood pressure and ultimately prevent it from progressing into a more serious health issue. The AHA estimates that around 50% of people with primary hypertension are able to regulate their blood pressure levels through diet and exercise alone.
Another form of high blood pressure to be aware of is secondary hypertension. Unlike primary hypertension, secondary hypertension is not caused by a problem within the body's processes, but by an external factor. There are several factors that can be attributed to secondary hypertension, but it most commonly occurs as a side effect of other diseases or conditions.
Secondary hypertension develops when the kidneys are unable to appropriately regulate sodium and water in the body, causing excess fluid to build up in the body. It often goes undiagnosed because it doesn't normally cause noticeable symptoms or immediate damage. It may be discovered as a result of other health problems that are caused by or associated with high blood pressure, such as heart failure, aneurysm, stroke, and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH).
In most cases, there is no cure for secondary hypertension. However, treatment can help control blood pressure levels so that you remain healthy and avoid complications related to the disease. Medications, diet modification, weight loss programs, and in some cases surgery is used to treat patients with this condition.
Stomach problems, kidney problems, and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) are common causes of secondary hypertension. In fact, BPH is the most common cause of secondary hypertension in men over 50 years old. Diseases such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and obesity can also lead to this condition.
Risk factors for developing secondary hypertension include−
Family history of high blood pressure
Age older than 50 years
Drinking alcohol regularly
Smoking cigarettes excessively
The diagnosis for this type of high blood pressure is made when there are no underlying problems with the kidneys or the heart and when there aren't any other symptoms besides high blood pressure.
Causes of Hypertension
The condition known as hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is characterized by an increase in the blood pressure in the arteries. It is one of the most common health conditions that people face today. This is because there are many factors that can cause it.
The most common factor that causes hypertension is aging. As you age, your heart muscle weakens and your arteries become stiffer, which forces more work out of your heart to get the blood circulating through your body. This causes high blood pressure and this increases as you age.
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Another factor that can make you more likely to develop high blood pressure is being overweight or obese. The extra weight put on by people who are overweight puts stress on their hearts and arteries and this makes them overwork more than they are supposed to be working.
Another factor that can cause hypertension is a diet that has too much sodium in it.
Other causes of hypertension include alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, kidney failure, family history, chronic stress, and certain medications such as birth control pills and steroids.
Symptoms of Hypertension
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms of hypertension, talk to your doctor about treatment options−
Headaches − In some people with high blood pressure, headaches are one of the first signs of the problem. The headaches can be triggered by anything from stress to constipation to low-carbohydrate diets.
Dizziness − If you have high blood pressure, your heart may not be able to pump blood through your body as effectively as it should be able to. This can lead to dizziness or fainting spells when you stand up quickly (orthostatic hypotension).
Fatigue or weakness − If you have high blood pressure, your heart may have to work harder than normal to circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. Over time, this leads to fatigue or weakness that makes it hard for you to do your normal activities.
Nausea or vomiting − If you have high blood pressure, the increased pressure in your arteries can cause nausea or vomiting. This can happen when you stand up quickly from sitting or lying down.
Chest pain − If you have high blood pressure, your heart may not be able to pump blood through your body as effectively as it should be able to. This can lead to chest pain (angina) when you exercise or do strenuous activities.
Diagnosis of Hypertension
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, there are a number of tests that your doctor may recommend in order to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other potential causes. These tests may include−
A physical exam – Your doctor will check your blood pressure and look for signs of organ damage.
Blood tests – These can help to rule out other conditions that may be causing your hypertension, such as kidney disease.
Imaging tests – Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound of your arteries or a CT scan to look for blockages or other problems.
Cardiac stress test – This test may be done to check for heart damage.
Treatment and Precautions
The treatment for diabetes is to maintain good blood glucose levels. To do this, you must−
Eat a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats, in order to maintain a healthy weight.
At least 30 minutes of exercise should be performed on most days of the week.
If you're overweight or obese, you should try to slim down.
Maintain your blood pressure below 140/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury).
Control high blood pressure with medications if necessary.
In conclusion, hypertension is a serious condition that can lead to many health complications. If you think you may be at risk for hypertension, it is important to see your doctor for a checkup. There are many treatments available to help control hypertension, so do not hesitate to seek medical help if you think you may have this condition.
1. What are the risk factors for developing high blood pressure?
Weight, age, and family history are all risk factors for high blood pressure.
2. What are the symptoms of hypertension?
High blood pressure rarely has any symptoms at first. As it develops over time, you may notice that your heart is beating faster than usual or that you have an increased need to urinate at night or during exercise. You may also notice swelling in just one arm or leg that doesn't go away after a few hours or days. These are all signs that something isn't right with your body's ability to regulate blood flow and pressure.
3. How does blood pressure work?
Your heart works like a pump to move blood throughout your body. As it does so, it pushes against the walls of your arteries in order to get the blood through them. The higher the volume of blood pumped per beat (the cardiac output), the greater amount of force on those artery walls.
4. What causes high blood pressure?
A number of factors can contribute to the development of high blood pressure including heredity (family history), being obese (excess body fat), lack of physical activity, smoking cigarettes, and drinking alcohol excessively (more than one drink per day).
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