What Is Hypertension? | Everything You Need To Know About Hypertension

Filed in Health, Medical Conditions by on January 31, 2019 0 Comments

What Is Hypertension? | Everything You Need To Know About Hypertension

What Is Hypertension? | Everything You Need To Know About Hypertension

What is Hypertension?

High blood pressure is defined as a blood pressure greater than 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

Most cases of high blood pressure (about 85% to 90%) are referred to as essential or primary hypertension.  By definition, essential hypertension has no identifiable cause.

Hypertension (HTN or HT), otherwise referred to as high blood pressure (HBP), is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently gets elevated.

High blood pressure typically does not cause symptoms. Long-term high blood pressure, however, is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease, vision loss, chronic kidney disease, and dementia.

After a recent study, The World Health Organization (WHO) made a claim that the growth of the processed food industry and the consumption of processed industry product has impacted the amount of salt in diets worldwide, and that this plays a role in hypertension.

Unfortunately, the cause of high blood pressure (hypertension) in 90-95% of the cases is unknown. There are, however, a number of factors that have been linked to high blood pressure including:

  • A family history of high blood pressure.
  • Age – The incidence of high blood pressure rises in men after age 35 and in women after age 45.
  • Gender – Men are more likely to have high blood pressure than women.
  • Smoking – If you smoke cigarettes, you may have increased high blood pressure.
  • Race – Approximately 33% of African-Americans have high blood pressure, compared to 25% of Caucasians.

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Definition Of Terms

What Is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels. The pressure depends on the work being done by the heart and the resistance of the blood vessels.

What Are Arteries?

Your arteries and high blood pressure. 

The arteries are the large blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to all the organs and muscles of the body, to give them the energy and oxygen they need. The arteries manage the flow of blood by controlling the speed and direction it flows in.

What is Coronary artery disease?

This is the impedance or blockage of one or more arteries that supply blood to the heart, usually due to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Abbreviated CAD. A major cause of illness and death, CAD begins when hard cholesterol substances (plaques) are deposited within a coronary artery.

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FAQs Associated With Hypertension

What Causes Primary Hypertension?

Primary hypertension has no clear cause and is thought to be linked to genetics, poor diet, lack of exercise and obesity

What causes Secondary Hypertension?

Secondary hypertension (secondary high blood pressure) is high blood pressure that’s caused by another medical condition. Secondary hypertension can be caused by conditions that affect your kidneys, arteries, heart or endocrine system. Secondary hypertension can also occur during pregnancy. In this type of hypertension, once the root cause is treated, blood pressure usually returns to normal or is significantly lowered.

What Is Atherosclerosis?

It is a condition where the arteries become narrowed and hardened due to a buildup of plaque around the artery wall. It is also known as arteriosclerotic vascular disease. The disease disrupts the flow of blood around the body, posing the risk of serious complications.

What Causes Atherosclerosis?

High blood pressure is a major cause of atherosclerosis, the artery-clogging process that leads to heart attacks and strokes.

What are Clogged Arteries?

Clogged arteries result from a buildup of a substance called plaque on the inner walls of the arteries. Arterial plaque can reduce blood flow or, in some instances, block it altogether.

Can Hypertension Be Cured?

Some high blood pressure could have surprising causes – and for one such cause, there’s a surgical cure.

Aside primary and Secondary, What are The Other Types Of Hypertension?

Malignant Hypertension

High blood pressure is usually called the “Silent Killer”. It is called this because it does not always have obvious signs or symptoms. Unlike moderate high blood pressure, malignant hypertension has very noticeable symptoms such as.

  • Changes in vision including blurry vision.
  • Chest Pain.
  • Anxiety.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Headaches.
  • Reduced urine output.

Resistant Hypertension

So you have made lifestyle changes. You’re taking a diuretic and at least 2 hypertensive medications but your blood pressure is not budging. This is called resistant hypertension.

Simply put, it means your high blood pressure is hard to treat and may also have an underlying secondary cause.

Resistant hypertension may have one or more underlying medical conditions. In addition to treating resistant hypertension with medications, doctors usually investigate secondary cause such as:

  • Abnormalities in the hormones that balance and control blood pressure.
  • The accumulation of artery-clogging plaque in blood vessels that nourish kidneys, a condition known as renal artery stenosis.
  • Sleep issues such as a breath-holding type of snoring known as obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Obesity or a heavy intake of alcohol or other substances that interfere with blood pressure.

Pulmonary Hypertension

Some forms of pulmonary hypertension are serious conditions that progressively become worse and are sometimes fatal. Although some forms of pulmonary hypertension are not curable, treatment can help lessen symptoms and improve the quality of life.

There are several types of pulmonary hypertension and the treatment plan depends on the type. Symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • Shortness of breath during routine activity, such as climbing two flights of stairs.
  • Fatigue.
  • Chest pain.
  • A racing heartbeat.
  • Pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen near the liver.
  • Decreased appetite.

Pseudo-Hypertension

This type of blood pressure usually appears in senior citizens. Non-compressibility, and Osler’s sign of pseudohypertension is a falsely elevated blood pressure reading obtained by the blood pressure machine. This is due to calcification of the blood vessels which cannot be compressed.

White coat hypertension

This is a fairly common phenomenon whereby blood pressure is only elevated when a patient is in the doctor’s surgery. People with white coat syndrome have normal readings at home, and only have high readings when their BP is taken by a doctor.

Isolated systolic hypertension

It’s not uncommon for patients to have either a systolic number that’s elevated while the diastolic number remains normal.

It’s less common to have an elevated diastolic number. This condition is known as isolated systolic hypertension, usually affects older people and tends to result from a clear and defined condition somewhere else in the body.

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What are The Stages Of Hypertension?

The heart’s rhythmic pumping action creates the upper systolic pressure (normal is 120 mm. Hg. or lower) and its resting pressure between heart beats is the lower diastolic pressure (normal is 80 mm. Hg. or lower). There are four stages of high blood pressure or hypertension:

  • STAGE 1 or Prehypertension is 120/80 to 139/89
  • STAGE 2 or Mild Hypertension is 140/90 to 159/99
  • STAGE 3 or Moderate Hypertension is 160/100 to 179/109
  • STAGE 4 or Severe Hypertension is 180/110 or higher

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How To Prevent Hypertension

High blood pressure affects more than 50 million Americans 60 years of age and older. One in three adults has high blood pressure. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of hypertension is highest in the African Region at 46% of adults aged 25 years and above, while the lowest was found in the American region. High prevalence of hypertension has been reported in some recent studies conducted in Nigeria

You can lower your risk of high blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, including:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Eliminating tobacco use
  • Limiting alcohol consumption to no more than three ounces per day for men and one and a half ounces for women
  • Building relaxation into your workday
  • Developing healthy eating habits, which include selecting a variety of foods, partially whole grains, fruits and green vegetables, and limiting the intake of salt and saturated fats

You can also work with your doctor to achieve good blood pressure control by:

  • Knowing your blood pressure. If either the upper level (systolic pressure) or lower level (diastolic pressure) goes persistently beyond the normal limit of 140/90, consult with your physician.
  • Monitor your blood pressure regularly, and keep a written record to share with your doctor.
  • Take medications as instructed.
  • If blood pressure readings remain high, ask your doctor if tests to detect secondary hypertension should be conducted. Depending on the findings, treatment may be modified to achieve blood pressure control.

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