What is Hypertension ?

Dr Foram Bhuta

Dr Foram Bhuta

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 10 years of experience

December 8, 2021 Brain Diseases 401 Views

English हिन्दी Bengali

What is the meaning of Hypertension?

Hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure of a person is too high. This condition occurs when the force of blood flowing through the blood vessels (arteries) is too high.

Treatment of this problem at the correct time prevents the risk of developing heart diseases. If you ignore these problems, then it can lead to further complications. For example, high blood pressure can result in heart failure, stroke, and other life-threatening complications. However, the problem of high blood pressure (hypertension) can happen to anyone. According to some research, one in 10 people in India suffer from hypertension. Many people are not able to get proper treatment due to a lack of knowledge about hypertension.

Let us tell you in detail about hypertension through today’s article.

  • What are the types of Hypertension?
  • What are the causes of Hypertension?
  • What are the risk factors of Hypertension?
  • What are the symptoms of Hypertension?
  • How to diagnose Hypertension?
  • What is the treatment of Hypertension?
  • What are the complications of Hypertension?
  • How to prevent Hypertension?

What are the types of Hypertension?

There are two main types of hypertension:

  • Primary hypertension: This is the most common type of hypertension. For most people who get this type of blood pressure, it develops over time as they get older.
  • Secondary hypertension: Secondary hypertension is caused by another medical condition or the use of certain medications. Once the underlying disorder is treated or the medications that are causing hypertension are stopped, this condition of hypertension usually improves.

( Know more about- Diet for Hypertension patients )

What are the causes of Hypertension?

Primary hypertension can occur due to the following reasons:

  • Aging: Hypertension can occur due to old age.
  • Genes: Some people are thought to have hypertension due to a genetic predisposition.
  • Obesity: People with obesity fall prey to many diseases. Apart from this, they may also develop high blood pressure or hypertension.
  • Smoking: The risk of hypertension is higher in people who smoke. Such people should change their smoking habits and contact a doctor for any abnormalities in the heart.
  • High salt intake: Too much salt in the diet puts a person at risk of developing hypertension. Therefore, people should consume less amount of salt to reduce the risk of hypertension.
  • Stress: Stress is a common reason for developing high blood pressure or hypertension. Excessive stress can cause several other types of diseases as well.
  • Lack of exercise: People who do not do regular physical activities such as yoga or exercise are more likely to develop hypertension. Physical inactivity can also weaken the body’s immunity (the body’s response to fight against infections).

( Know more about- What is Bariatric Surgery? Purpose, Procedure, Aftercare, Cost )

Secondary hypertension can occur due to the following reasons:

  • Kidney diseases
  • Congenital (present from birth) heart defects
  • Thyroid disorders

( Know more about- What are Thyroid Disorders? Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment )

  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (a sleep disorder with breathing difficulties)
  • Illegal drugs consumption
  • Alcoholism
  • Endocrine (hormone-related) tumors
  • Disorders of the adrenal gland (glands located on top of both the kidneys)

( Know more about- What is Kidney Transplant Surgery? Purpose, Procedure, Aftercare, Cost )

What are the risk factors of Hypertension?

The following are at an increased risk of developing hypertension:

  • Family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, or other cardiovascular diseases
  • Age above 55 years
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Consumption of food high in salt or sodium
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholic

What are the symptoms of Hypertension?

Some early signs and symptoms of high blood pressure include:

  • Severe headache
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling tired or confused
  • Blood in urine
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dizziness

If a person is experiencing these symptoms, then he should immediately contact a doctor.

( Know more about- What is Blood in Urine? Causes, Tests, Treatments )

How to diagnose Hypertension?

  • The normal blood pressure of an individual is 120/80 mm Hg. In case of suspected hypertension, your doctor will check the blood pressure reading. Blood pressure can be categorized according to the readings as follows:
  • Healthy blood pressure: A reading of 120/80 mm Hg indicates healthy blood pressure.
  • Elevated blood pressure: Systolic pressure (the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and pumps out the blood) or upper reading is between 120 and 129 mm Hg, and diastolic pressure (the pressure in the arteries between two beats of the heart) or lower reading is less than 80 mm Hg. This condition is usually corrected only by making certain lifestyle changes and does not require any medications.
  • Stage 1 hypertension: Systolic reading is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, and the diastolic reading is between 80 and 89 mm Hg.
  • Stage 2 hypertension: Systolic reading is higher than 140 mm Hg, and the diastolic reading is higher than 90 mm Hg.
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic reading is above 180 mm Hg, and the diastolic reading is above 120 mm Hg. This is an emergency medical condition and requires immediate treatment.
  • In case of a high blood pressure reading, the doctor will take a couple of more readings over the next couple of days or weeks to confirm the diagnosis of hypertension.
  • The doctor will do a full-body check-up and recommend the following tests to check for other underlying conditions:
  • Urine test: This test is done to check for any urinary infections.
  • Blood test: The underlying infections and disorders can be diagnosed by the blood test results.
  • Cholesterol screening or Lipid profile test: This test is used for checking the levels of good and bad cholesterol in the blood.
  • Electrocardiogram: This test is used for the measurement of the electrical activity of the heart.
  • Echocardiogram: This test is used to check the signs of other heart diseases.
  • Ultrasound: An ultrasound of the heart or the kidneys may be taken to check for any disorders of these organs. Sound waves are used to create images of these internal organs in an ultrasound.

( Know more about- Cholesterol tests )

What is the treatment of Hypertension?

The treatment of hypertension includes some lifestyle changes and medications.

  • Lifestyle changes
    • Eat a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables. Also, limit your intake of salt.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Maintenance of a healthy weight
    • Quit smoking and limit the consumption of alcohol.
    • Reduce stress.
  • Medications
    • The doctor may prescribe different types of medications depending on the severity of the condition and the overall health of the patient.
    • The different types of medications that can be prescribed to treat hypertension include:
    • Diuretics: These medicines help the kidney to remove sodium and water from the body.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors: These medicines help in relaxing the blood vessels by blocking the formation of a natural chemical that causes narrowing of the blood vessels.
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs): These medications also help in relaxing the blood vessels by blocking the action of a natural chemical that causes narrowing of the blood vessels.
  • Calcium channel blockers: These medicines help in relaxing the muscles of the blood vessels and slowing the heart rate.
  • Alpha-blockers: These medicines decrease the nerve signals to the blood vessels, lowering the effect of the natural chemicals that cause narrowing of the blood vessels.
  • Alpha-beta blockers: These medicines block the nerve signals to the blood vessels.
  • Beta-blockers: These medicines widen the blood vessels and reduce the workload on the heart.
  • Aldosterone antagonists: These medicines block the effect of the natural chemical that may lead to fluid and salt buildup.
  • Vasodilators: These medicines prevent the muscles on the walls of the arteries from tightening and the arteries from narrowing.
  • Renin inhibitors: This medicine slows the production of renin, which is an enzyme that is produced by the kidneys that cause an increase in blood pressure.
  • Central-acting agents: These medicines prevent an increase in the heart rate and narrowing of the blood vessels.

( Know more about- What is Heart Bypass Surgery? Purpose, Tests, Procedure,Aftercare, Cost )

What are the complications of Hypertension?

Hypertension can lead to the following complications:

  • Damaged arteries:
    • Healthy arteries are strong and flexible. Hypertension can make the arteries tighter, tougher, and less elastic.
    • Damaged arteries cause the dietary fats to deposit in the arteries and the blood flow is restricted.
    • This leads to an increase in blood pressure, blockages, heart attack, and stroke (damage to the brain due to interruption in blood supply)
  • Damaged brain:
    • Hypertension can cause a decrease in blood supply to the brain.
    • Temporary blockages of the flow of blood to the brain are known as transient ischemic attacks.
    • Significant blockages of the flow of blood to the brain may lead to the death of the brain cells. This is known as a stroke.
    • Hypertension may cause difficulty in learning, speaking, and reasoning.

( Know more about- What is Brain Aneurysm Surgery? Purpose, Procedure, Aftercare, Cost )

  • Damaged heart:
    • Hypertension increases the pressure in the blood vessels and forces the muscles of the heart to pump blood with greater force and more frequently than a healthy heart.
    • This can lead to an enlarged heart.
    • An enlarged heart can cause a heart attack (a blockage of blood flow to the heart), arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), heart failure (a condition in which the heart doesn’t pump blood well), and sudden cardiac death (sudden death due to loss of heart function).

How to prevent Hypertension?

Some of the following methods can be adopted to prevent hypertension.

  • Regular exercise and yoga can help strengthen the muscles and boost the immune system.
  • Avoid taking too much salt in your diet
  • Maintenance of a healthy weight can keep the blood pressure in check.
  • Get your blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Quit smoking and alcohol consumption.
  • If you are undergoing treatment for high blood pressure, visit your doctor for regular follow-up.

( Know more about- Home remedies to Quit Smoking )

We hope that we could answer all your questions regarding hypertension through this article.

If you want more information and treatment of Hypertension, you can contact a Cardiologist.

We only aim to provide you with information through the article and do not recommend any medicine or treatment to anyone. Only a qualified doctor can give you the best advice and correct treatment plan. 

Over 1 Million Users Visit Us Monthly

Join our email list to get the exclusive unpublished health content right in your inbox


    captcha