Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. In this condition, the blood pressure against the walls of the arteries is higher than normal, leading to health complications. Hypertension depends on the blood the heart pumps and the blood flow resistance in the arteries. Uncontrollable Hypertension enhances the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, such as heart failure, stroke, aneurysm, and heart attack. Hypertension is measured using an inflatable cuff in a few minutes.
There are two numbers for Hypertension measures, such as
- Systolic pressure is a top number that calculates the pressure in the arteries during heartbeats. The readings of more than 140 have been considered Hypertension.
- Diastolic pressure is a bottom number that calculates the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests among beats. The readings of more than 90 indicate Hypertension.
Stages of blood pressure:
There are four categories of high blood pressure, such as:
- Normal blood pressure is when the systolic pressure is less than 120 mmHg and diastolic pressure is less than 80 mmHg.
- High blood pressure if the systolic pressure is between 120 to 129 mmHg and diastolic is less than 80 mmHg (prehypertension)
- Stage 1 of Hypertension is when systolic pressure is between 130 to 139 mmHg and diastolic is between 80 to 89 mmHg
- Stage 2 of Hypertension consists of systolic pressure of 140 mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90 mmHg.
Mainly, high blood pressure has no symptoms or signs. The symptoms occur when the blood pressure reaches to severe level. These are the symptoms of Hypertension, which may include:
- Fainting or lightheadedness
- Heart palpitations (fluttering or rapid heartbeat)
- Breathing difficulties
- Blurry vision
- Chest pain
- Memory loss
Causes of Hypertension:
Hypertension not due to other diseases or conditions is known as primary Hypertension or essential Hypertension. These are the different conditions that cause primary Hypertension as follows:
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Taking too much alcohol
- Insulin resistance
- Family history
Hypertension caused by other medical conditions is known as secondary Hypertension. Chronic kidney disease is the common cause of secondary Hypertension. These are the other conditions that may cause Hypertension, which may include:
- Diabetes (because of kidney problems)
- Crushing syndrome
- Hyperparathyroidism (affects phosphorus and calcium levels)
- Sleep apnea
- Hyperthyroidism (the overactive thyroid)
- Pheochromocytoma (cancer of the adrenal glands)
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Some medications, like decongestants, cold remedies, pain relievers, and birth control pills
Diagnosis and treatment:
Hypertension can be diagnosed by measuring blood pressure regularly. Arm cuff, a stethoscope, or automatic devices are used to measure Hypertension. The doctors perform standard tests, such as blood tests, urine tests, electrocardiogram (ECG), and ultrasound, to diagnose the causes of Hypertension. Furthermore, blood tests may be performed to check sodium, potassium, blood glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, and creatinine levels.
The doctor may recommend medications and a healthy lifestyle to control Hypertension. There are different medications to control Hypertension, such as:
- ACE inhibitors: These angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are used to treat and improve the symptoms of Hypertension in patients with heart failure, diabetes, heart attack, and coronary artery disease. These medications help relax and open the blood vessels. So, the heart can efficiently pump blood into the body. For example, lisinopril, captopril, ramipril, benazepril, and enalapril. ACE inhibitors may cause dizziness, headache, fatigue, rashes, and dry cough. Moreover, these medications should not prescribe during pregnancy.
- Beta-blockers: These medications help to relax the blood vessels and to reduce high blood pressure. The different beta blockers are carvedilol, atenolol, nebivolol, bisoprolol, pindolol, and losartan. These medications have been considered less effective than other medications. The side effects of beta blockers are tiredness, headache, sleep problems, cold hands, fatigue, and dizziness.
- Diuretics (water pills): These medications increase the passing of urine. Diuretics help the kidney to eliminate water and sodium and relieve breathlessness and high blood pressure. Examples are bendroflumethiazide, bumetanide, metolazone, furosemide, torsemide, and indapamide. Diuretics may have side effects, such as increased thirst, dizziness, extreme tiredness, rashes, and frequently going to the washroom. Furthermore, these medications have been less expensive than other hypertension medications.
- Calcium channel blockers: These medications widen the blood vessels and decrease Hypertension. Their examples are nifedipine, verapamil, amlodipine, diltiazem, and felodipine. Calcium channel blockers may cause swelling in the ankles, constipation, water retention, and headache; they relax the blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. ARBs are less effective than ACE inhibitors.
- Angiotensin antagonists (ARBs): These medications relax the blood vessels by blocking the renin enzyme and reducing Hypertension. ARBs are less effective than ACE inhibitors. Their examples are losartan, aliskiren, irbesartan, valsartan, candesartan, olmesartan, azilsartan, and telmisartan. Furthermore, the side effects of angiotensin antagonists are flu, diarrhea, dizziness, and headaches.
- Renin-inhibitors: These medications are used to widen and relax the blood vessels and decrease Hypertension. For example, captopril, zofenopril, delapril, telmisartan, and candesartan. Renin-inhibitors have side effects like diarrhea, headache, stuffy nose, and dizziness.
- Vasodilators: Vasodilators are used to open the blood vessels and treat Hypertension, congestive heart failure, angina, and preeclampsia. Furthermore, these medications improve the blood flow from the heart. Vasodilators have side effects, such as heart palpitations, headaches, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, and joint pain.
These are the risk factors for Hypertension, such as
- Overweight: Obesity has been the primary risk of Hypertension.
- Age: Hypertension has been common in older adults. It increases with age because the arteries become stiff due to plaque buildup.
- Alcohol intake: Daily consumption of excessive alcohol may damage the heart and cause Hypertension.
- Smoking: Smoking may also cause Hypertension.
- Other health conditions: Diabetes, high cholesterol levels, sleep apnea, and cardiovascular diseases cause Hypertension, especially with age.
- Stress: A higher level of stress may cause Hypertension. The stress related activities such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating more can increase blood pressure.
Hypertension causes potential complications by atherosclerosis. In atherosclerosis, arteries become hard and narrow because of plaque buildup in the artery wall, thus making Hypertension severe. This worse condition may lead to other disorders, such as:
- Heart attack
- Kidney failure
- Heart failure
- Hypertensive retinopathies
- Vision loss
- Memory loss
- Vascular dementia
- Metabolic syndrome
A doctor recommends a healthy lifestyle to treat the signs and symptoms, thereby reducing the risk factors for Hypertension. The preventive measures for Hypertension are as follows:
- Take a nutritious diet
- Quit smoking
- Avoid alcohol
- Daily exercise or physical activity
- Consuming less sodium (salt)
- Managing stress
- Maintaining weight
- Getting proper sleep
- More potassium intake
- Eating more vegetables and fruits and low-fat products
- Take medicines as prescribed