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High Blood Pressure – An Overview

by Ana

High Blood Pressure

The American Heart Association says that high blood pressure effects about 1 in 3 persons have the high blood pressure in United States that makes 73 million people. High blood pressure effects about two million American teens and children too and the journal of American Medical Association reports that many patients of high blood pressure are under- diagnosed. Hypertension is a major health problem.

High Blood Pressure

Photo by : Wikimedia

Blood pressure is the force of blood that pushes the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If the pressure rises and stays high, it can damage the body.

High blood pressure is a chronic disease that can cause heart diseases, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and other physical problems.

Emotional tension and stress can temporarily raise the blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80, blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called “Pre- hypertension” and blood pressure above 140/90 is considered as high blood pressure.

The top number and the systolic blood pressure refer to the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and pumps blood in the arteries.

The bottom number and the diastolic blood pressure shows the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes after the contraction. The diastolic pressure shows the lowest pressure the arteries experience.

An increase in the systolic and the diastolic blood pressure raises the risk of developing heart diseases, kidney diseases, hardening of arteries, eye damage and brain damage etc.

The end result of high blood pressure is often organ- damage so it is important to make efforts to normalize the blood pressure and to prevent the complications of this disease.

Previously it was considered that increase in diastolic blood pressure is a more risk factor than increase in systolic blood pressure but now it is found that increase in the systolic blood pressure is more risky.

At least one hour before blood pressure is taken people should avoid things like smoking, caffeine intake, exercise etc because these things change the number of blood pressure.

Types of High Blood Pressure

There are two types of high blood pressure

  • Primary Hypertension
  • Secondary Hypertension
  1. Primary Hypertension

    It is a common condition of Hypertension, 95% of people have the Primary Hypertension.Causes of Primary Hypertension

    There are several causes of Primary Hypertension

    The consumption of salt is also related to the Primary Hypertension. People consuming more than 5.8 grams of salt can develop Primary Hypertension in them. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academics says that a healthy person consumes 3.8 grams of salt in their daily life to achieve a diet and it also provides the essential nutrients.

    Genetic factors also play an important role in the development of Primary Hypertension where Genes are the small particles that produce the proteins. 30% cases of Primary Hypertension are due to the Genetic factors. The current research say that the Rennin- Angiotens Aldosterone system. This system regulates the blood pressure by controlling salts in the body and the elasticity of the arteries. The patients with Primary Hypertension have abnormality in their arteries and elasticity of arteries.

    Primary Hypertension is caused by genetic disorders. In United Sates the high blood pressure in greater in African Americans than in Asians. The people whose parents have the high blood pressure have more chances of developing high blood pressure. Some defects in the Adrenal glands can also lead to high blood pressure.

  2. Secondary Hypertension

    5% of people are suffering from the Secondary Hypertension.

Causes of Secondary Hypertension

This blood pressure is caused due to disorder in any organ of the body like Kidney, blood vessel, Adrenal gland or Aortic artery.


Photo by : wikimedia

General Cause of Hypertension

General causes of Hypertension are

  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Genetic factors
  • Excessive consumption of salt
  • Aging

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is also known as silent killer. People having high blood pressure usually do not know it until they get their blood pressure checked.

Following are the symptoms of high blood pressure

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness

People often don’t care about the high blood pressure until the organs of their body are damaged due to it.

The symptoms of the chronic high blood pressure are

  • Heart attack
  • Kidney failure
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Eye damage
  • Vision loss
  • Leg pain

Malignant Hypertension

Severe condition of high blood pressure is also known as Malignant Hypertension. In this kind of Hypertension the diastolic pressure exceeds 140mm Hg.

Malignant Hypertension requires an emergency treatment in order to lower the blood pressure in order to prevent the Brain Hemorrhage.

High Blood Pressure Diagnosis

Blood pressure is measured with a Sphygmomanometer. This can be done with the help of Stethoscope and an automatic machine. The doctors examine the patient’s blood pressure in their daily routine.
When a doctor discusses about high blood pressure with the patient, he may ask about the medical history, family history, medication use, herbal remedies, smoking, drug use and the alcohol use.

Physical checkup may include listening to the heart beat, feeling of pulse in the wrist, eye examination etc.

Normal Blood Pressure

Normal blood pressure indicates systolic less than 120 mm Hg and diastolic less than 80mm Hg.


Pre-Hypertension indicates systolic 120-139 and diastolic 80-89mm Hg.

High Blood Pressure

Stage1: Systolic 140-159 and diastolic 90-99mm Hg.

Stage 2: Systolic more than 160 and diastolic more than 100mm Hg.

Blood test may also be taken to check the risk factor for heart disease and Stroke.

Blood tests may be measures to know the underlying causes of Adrenal Gland function and Abnormal Thyroid.
Ultrasound of kidneys and CT Scan of Abdomen is done to assess the damage of Kidneys.

Electrocardiogram also helps to evaluate the heart rate. This test is used to check the heart’s muscle thickness.

Echocardiogram is used for ultrasound examination of heart that checks the functioning of the heart. A Cardiologist interprets the test and tells about the thickness of heart muscles and how efficiently it can push blood to the other parts of the body.

Echocardiogram also assesses the heart valves like the narrowing and the leaking.

The X-ray can be used to look for the heart size, shape of the Aorta and to assess the Lungs.
Doppler Ultrasound is used to check the flow of blood through arteries at pulse points in arms, legs, hands and feet.

This is a good way to diagnose the Peripheral Vascular Disease that can be caused due to high blood pressure. It can also measure the blood flow to the kidneys that can lead to high blood pressure.

Treatment of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure exists before the development of its complications.

First of all anti- hypertensive drugs are given to the patients for treating high blood pressure.

Beta blockers are used in combination with the anti-hypertensive drugs to treat the hypertensive patients.

Patients who have hypertension along with the some other disease than in this case the patients are given the medicine that is beneficial for both the diseases like beta- blockers may treat the hypertension, anxiety and the migraine headache.

Changes in life style beneficial for high blood pressure

Some changes in the life style can help in lowering the high blood pressure like exercise, diet.


People who go for excessive use of alcohol have the chance to develop high blood pressure.
So if you want to get rid of high blood pressure avoid drinking alcohol.


Smoking increases the Vascular Complications like heart diseases and Stroke. It can also raise the blood pressure for a temporary time period, so the patients of Hypertension should avoid smoking.


Daily consumption of Caffeine can increase the blood pressure of people who are already suffering from hypertension. Use of Coffee, Alcohol along with the smoking can also increase the blood pressure. Patients of Hypertension should really limit the use of Coffee to control their high blood pressure.


The American Heart Association says that general population should consume 6 grams of salt per day but patients of Hypertension should consume less than 4grams of salt per day.


The American Obesity Association states that risk of hypertension is five to six times more in the overweight persons because obese patients have stiffness in their arteries.


Regular exercise helps to lower the high blood pressure. Other activities like jogging, bicycle riding and swimming can also be beneficial in lowering high blood pressure to a great extent.

High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. People suffer from this without knowing the symptoms. During this time high blood pressure can damage heart, kidneys, blood vessels and other organs of the body.

It is important to know the body’s blood pressure number even if you are feeling good. If the blood pressure is too high, an individual needs to secure the parts of your body by lowering the blood pressure through any possible way.

Angiotens Aldosterone system

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