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High blood pressure is a condition in which the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels increases, causing the pressure in your blood vessels to rise.
Not all people with high blood pressure have symptoms, but if you do experience symptoms you may be advised to take your medicine.
Fatigue or tiredness
Blurred vision, or
Pain in your chest, arms, legs, neck or back.
High blood pressure is the most common type of hypertension.
BEFORE YOU START Taking medicines is usually the best option, as it’ll help to reduce your blood pressure most of the time. However, making lifestyle changes can also help to reduce your blood pressure, and for some people, it can be easier to make them than to take medicine.
Hypertension is classified into two major types, based on the cause and symptoms of the condition. Essential hypertension, which accounts for about 85% of cases of hypertension, is considered to be the most common. In these cases, hypertension occurs as a result of poor nutrition, genetics, obesity, stress, and the use of certain medications. (Exercise, salt restriction, and certain types of medications also can cause an increase in blood pressure.)
In some cases, however, hypertension is diagnosed in people who have no other cause for the condition, despite the fact that they have no overt symptoms. These cases are called secondary hypertension, and may be caused by the following: kidney disease (nephrotic syndrome, nephritis, etc.), thyroid disease, high levels of estrogen or testosterone, and certain types of medication and symptoms.
The diagnosis of hypertension is based on the symptoms, blood pressure, and the effect of the condition on the body.
Hypertension is a common disorder and affects about 25 percent of people in the United States. Most are unaware that they have hypertension until their blood pressure reaches the level required for a diagnosis of hypertension. Hypertension is often asymptomatic, although it may cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and chest pain. In some people, it may cause swelling of the ankles and feet, which may be accompanied by pain. In the elderly, a common symptom is shortness of breath.
Risk factors, management, & treatment
Risk factors for high blood pressure include the presence of high blood fats (triglycerides and cholesterol), smoking, obesity, and a family history of hypertension. Although a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain foods also may raise blood pressure. These include alcohol, caffeine, salt, and foods containing foods high in potassium, calcium, or magnesium.
High blood pressure can lead to a number of complications. Some of these complications are listed below.
Patients who have high blood pressure often have a number of other risk factors that may lead to additional complications. In addition, they are likely to develop atherosclerosis at an early age, and this can lead to myocardial infarction. Hypertension is also associated with peripheral vascular disease, which can cause gangrene of the extremities (forearm, toes, and feet) and problems with the kidneys. These problems can lead to kidney failure.
Some people with high blood pressure have a different pattern of hemodynamic abnormalities than other patients with the same blood pressure. For example, some patients have a high blood pressure that is associated with an increase in the force of cardiac contraction, called hypertrophy. This may result in an increased force of cardiac contraction and an increased rate of contraction.
Treatment of hypertension is aimed at reducing the increased risk of future cardiovascular events by normalizing diastolic blood pressure to less than 90 mmHg. If blood pressure is not brought under control, the risk of stroke is markedly increased.
The standard therapy for mild to moderate hypertension is a reduced diet and increased physical activity, since drugs that cause weight loss are rarely effective and may be difficult to take long term.
Diuretics are not currently recommended for the treatment of hypertension, but may be used in patients who are drinking heavily or who are unable to exercise. If diuretic therapy is used, the patient should be given potassium supplements to prevent a hypokalemia (low serum potassium) that may occur with potassium-sparing diuretics.
Several studies have shown that calcium antagonists are effective in reducing blood pressure. In general, however, the benefits of drugs that lower blood pressure by vasodilation outweigh their potential for side effects.
Although lifestyle changes are recommended for everyone with high blood pressure, it is important to keep taking your medicine to see if it works for you and reduces the risk of other problems.