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Key Information About Hypertension

Updated on July 15, 2019
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Srikanth is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life.

Overview

Hypertension (HTN or HT) is also known as high blood pressure (HBP). It is defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140 or a diastolic pressure above 90.

Worldwide, hypertension is estimated to cause 7.5 million deaths, about 12.8 percent of the total of all deaths.

In the next five years, the number of adult population living with hypertension is expected to grow to a mind-boggling 1.56 billion.

Often known as ‘the silent killer’ this condition is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is a leading cause of death.

Source

The human body has a buffering system that continuously monitors and maintains a healthy blood pressure. If blood pressure drops, a response called muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) is triggered to bring blood pressure back up to normal levels.

— Lawrence Sinoway, Director of the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Measurement

Blood pressure is recorded as two sets of numbers: systolic and diastolic. Systolic reading is the pressure measured in the blood vessels when the heart beats, while the diastolic reading is the pressure measured when the heart rests between beats.

Stages

Stage
Blood pressure
1
Prehypertension - 120/80 to 139/89
2
Mild Hypertension - 140/90 to 159/99
3
Moderate Hypertension - 160/100 to 179/109
4
Severe Hypertension - 180/110 or higher

Causes

Stress is the main cause of hypertension. Some diseases related to kidney can also cause this condition.

For most adults, there is no identifiable cause of hypertension. It tends to develop gradually over many years.

Obesity, lack of physical activity, high amount of slat in the diet, genetics, long-term sleep deprivation, excessive consumption of alcohol and use of tobacco products are some factors that can raise your risk of developing hypertension.

It has been observed that people of African or Caribbean origin are more susceptible to hypertension than others.

Source

Eating the standard American diet full of processed foods, processed meats with a nitrate and nitrite preservatives, and an abundance of sweets, each are factors that could lead to hypertension.

Symptoms

Hypertension shows in the form of high blood pressure, where blood applies more force on the walls of the blood vessels.

Nearly one-third of people who have hypertension don't know it.

If the blood pressure is extremely high, the patient may display symptoms like severe headache, fatigue, confusion, vision problems, chest pain, breathing problems, irregular heartbeat, blood in the urine, and pounding in the chest, neck, or ears.

Muscle tremors and difficulty in speaking or to understand speech could be caused by a hypertensive crisis, which is a medical emergency caused by blood pressure reaching dangerously high levels.

Source

Hypertension causes more death and disability than any other disease process and we are lucky that it can be controlled with generic medications in routine care settings.

— Dr Joshua A. Beckman, Director of Vascular Medicine Section, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Treatment

Doctors use diuretics, beta-blockers, alpha-blockers, calcium-channel blockers, central agonists, peripheral adrenergic inhibitor, vasodilators and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors to treat hypertension.

In the long-term, if we can identify the nervous system mechanisms involved in remodeling the pulmonary-cardiac reflex, we can target those to develop new blood pressure drugs.

— Thomas Taylor-Clark, PhD, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

Prevention

Eat healthy, natural food. Ensure that your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. Do yoga daily. Do not use tobacco products. Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol.

Calcium and magnesium are protective; they decrease blood pressure.

— Abu Mohammed Naser, postdoctoral fellow, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University.

Do you practice yoga?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Srikanth R

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