"Blood pressure" is the force with which your heart pumps blood through
the body. Occasional increases in blood pressure levels are not
Hypertension is high blood pressure. When heart beats (contracts and
relaxes) it pumps out a certain volume of blood. The maximum arterial
pressure, measured in mm Hg, determines the systolic reading and the
lowest reading of this pressure is called the diastolic pressure. It is
widely accepted that a person having a reading of a systolic pressure of
greater than/equal to 140 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure of greater
than/equal to 90 mm Hg is considered to have high blood pressure. When
such a reading is sustained over a period of time, it is diagnosed as
There are two types of hypertension. One is primary hypertension and
the other is secondary hypertension. The cause of primary hypertension
is unknown. It just happens but however, there are certain risk factors
or associations such as hereditary factors, race, age, environmental
and life-style factors (where you live, salt and other chemicals,
weight, stress, alcohol, lack of exercise). The difference between
primary and secondary hypertension is that we know the causes of
secondary hypertension. Usually, the causes of secondary hypertension
include renal artery stenosis (or other cause of increased plasma
renin), renal parenchymal disease (glomerulonephritis, diabetic
nephropathy, polycystic disease, obstructive uropathy), drugs (oral
contraceptives, steroids), and increased levels of catecholamines
(pheochromocytoma), glucocorticoids (Cushing's disease), or
Hypertension is referred to as "the silent killer" since those afflicted
seem to experience few, if any, symptoms. However, hypertension may be
associated with fatigue, headaches, lightheadedness, chest pains, visual
and speech disturbances, shortness of breath, and nose bleeds.
We do not know what causes "essential" hypertension but we have proof
that there are many factors associated with its development, such as
age, race, and family history. Many of these cannot be controlled or
prevented; however, weight, diet, and life-style can be controlled to a
great extent, and their control may help prevent or reduce your high
blood pressure. Hypertension is controllable and one of the simplest
treatment is taking medication. There are a wide variety of medication
available for patients. Diuretics, beta blockers, calcium channel
blockers, ACE inhibitors, alpha blockers, central agents, and
vasodilators are just some drugs used to treat high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is dangerous because if it is not treated and
controlled it can damage important organs of the body: the heart, brain,
kidneys, and eyes. When blood pressure remains abnormally high for a
long time, usually years, the increased force against the walls of the
arteries causes them to become thicker and crooked, decreasing the flow
of blood to the heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. Cardiovascular
disease is the NO. 1 cause of death. Death rates are higher when high
blood pressure is also present and even higher when the high blood
pressure is associated with other risk factors such as cigarette smoking
and high blood cholesterol.
Heart - enlargement of the heart and increased hardening, thickening,
and blockage of the coronary arteries. These changes can lead to chest
pain, heart attacks, heart failure, and irregular heartbeats.
Brain- high blood pressure is the most common cause of strokes, which
also called cerebrocascular accidents (CVAs). Strokes are usually the
result of a clot in a blood vessel or a bursting of a blood vessel in
the brain. This cuts off the supply of oxygen and nutrients, so that a
portion of the brain gets sick and dies.
Kidneys - your kidneys filter waste substances out of the blood into the
urine. if your kidneys do not function properly, these waste substances
build up in the blood and, beyond a certain level, begin to poison your
body. As in the heart, the blood vessels in your kidneys can become
hardened and thickened as a result of high blood pressure, and they
cannot carry enough blood to nourish these organs and aid in eliminating
waste. The result is kidney renal failure.
Eyes- long-standing high blood pressure can cause serious eye problems,
such as bleeding or clots in the small eye vessels or tearing away of
the lining of the inner eye.
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Related TopicsHypertensionBlood pressureEssential hypertensionSecondary hypertensionRenal artery stenosisHeart failureStrokeBeta blockerHypertensive emergencyManagement of hypertensiondifference between primary and secondary hypertensionprimary and secondary hypertensionrenal artery stenosisrenal parenchymal diseaseheart pumps bloodtypes of hypertensionblood pressure levelscushing s diseasemm hgplasma reninspeech disturbancesoral contraceptiveslife style factorslack of exercisehigh blood pressurediastolic pressurehereditary factorsarterial pressurediabetic nephropathycatecholamines
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Essay on High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is unlike any other disease. It can be extremely serious, but normally does not affect how you feel day to day. It is often referred to as "the silent killer"(1), because there are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. People with high blood pressure, in most cases, are unaware they have it unless they have their blood pressure measured. This condition in the unaware person may be slowly causing serious damage and putting them at risk of sudden death from stroke or heart disease.
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"Blood pressure"(2) is the force with which your heart pumps blood through the body. Occasional increases in blood pressure levels are not unusual. Examples may include physical activities that make your heartbeat faster and more powerful, and this can raise your blood pressure to meet the added demands of activity. However, if your blood pressure reaches abnormally high levels and stays high, then you could be considered to have high blood pressure (HSP). High blood pressure is also called hypertension. High blood pressure in the simplest terms means the increase of blood pressure due to the malfunctioning of one or several of the organs responsible for maintaining normal blood pressure. This malfunctioning may have many causes: an increased pumping of the blood by the heart; an excess of volume of the blood improperly excreted by the kidney; an excess of hormones able to increase blood pressure; and constriction of the blood vessels.
A high blood pressure that is consistently over the recommended range of 140 Systolic (3), over 80 Diastolic, (140/80) is considered high. The Diastolic number is of the most concern when considering high blood pressure (4).
One blood pressure reading that is high does not mean you have high blood pressure. There are many reasons for pressures to be high at any one time. In the past medical authorities had agreed that at least two elevated blood pressure readings taken on two different days were the basic minimums to make a preliminary diagnosis of high blood pressure or hypertension. More current research indicates that blood pressure may vary over several months. Authorities now recommend that for patients whose diastolic blood pressure is mildly elevated, the diagnosis of "high blood pressure" (5) should be based on at least three blood pressure measurements over a period of several months. This allows doctors to decide if a person needs treatment.
High blood pressure, if untreated for long periods of time, can cause damage to the arteries of the body and to the organs that are supplied with blood by those arteries. It can also lead to pre-mature death. The major organs are the heart, the brain, and the kidneys. First, the heart, which pumps the blood, becomes enlarged and later strained. Second, the arteries themselves become hardened and thickened and this is called hardening of the arteries. Third, the organs at the ends of the arteries can also become damaged by the high blood pressure. Related medical conditions to high blood pressure include: heart failure, kidney failure, poor eyesight, stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), dementia, coronary artery disease, heart attack, and peripheral vascular disease.
While high blood pressure can cause major damage, controlling high blood pressure so it does not remain abnormally high for long periods of time can prevent the damaged.
There is a wide range of drugs that can be prescribed to bring blood pressure down. The aim is to find the particular drug or combination of drugs that can lower ones blood pressure to a safe level (ideally to go below 140/80) to prevent problems. Approximately half of all people with high blood pressure can control it with only one drug, three-fourths can control it with two different drugs and nine out of ten can control it with three different drugs.
The drugs used to treat high blood pressure belong, for the most part, to one of seven different classes: (6)
- Beta Blockers
- Calcium Channel Blockers
- Ace Inhibitors
- Alpha Blockers
- Central Agents
The use of these blood pressure medications can cause side effects that include: sleepiness, impotence, headaches, weak muscles, fatigue, dizziness, frequent urination and many others.
In cases of people who are overweight, treatment can be as simple as losing weight. Altering your diet, reducing the amount of salt and fatty foods, increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat, and sensible drinking can help lower your blood pressure and prevent high blood pressure from developing. Getting regular exercise can lower blood pressure and help control your weight. Giving up cigarettes and managing stress can also lower blood pressures.
Following and maintaining a well-balanced treatment plan will help a person lower their blood pressure and increase their chance for a longer life.
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