What is high blood pressure (Hypertension)?

Many people have high blood pressure and don’t even know it. Symptoms of this disease negatively affect a majority of individuals, and without proper attention and care, could result in fatality.

By understanding what is high blood pressure exactly, what causes it, along with common hypertension symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, it can easily be treated. This article aims to explore high blood pressure symptoms in greater detail and provide remedies to diagnose, prevent, and treat this common condition.

What is High Blood Pressure

What is high blood pressure exactly?

By pumping blood throughout the arteries with tremendous force, the heart pushes blood to the far extremities of every organ, from the crown of the head to the tips of the toes. Blood pressure is characterized as the actual pressure of the blood as it travels through the walls of the arteries and circulates throughout the body. The medical term for HBP is hypertension.

Many individuals who are suffering from hypertension don’t even know it. Major conditions resulting from untreated or ignored hypertension included peripheral artery disease, aortic aneurysms, kidney failure, stroke, congestive heart failure, and heart attack. Although awareness within the public of the dangers of hypertension have increased, HBP is the second most common reason of visits to the doctor within the United States.

Normally measured near the upper arm over the brachial artery, BP is measured with a blood pressure cuff and recorded as two separate numbers, for example, 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury); the larger number on top reflects the pressure resulting from contractions within the heart, while the smaller number on the bottom reflects the pressure within the arteries as the heart fills with blood and rests between each heartbeat.

Although many individuals suffer from high blood pressure and are unaware of it, most fail to identify its’ causes.

Causes Of Hypertension

The true cause of high blood pressure within 90% of individuals who suffer from this condition is unknown, however, there are risk factors that can contribute to the development of hypertension.

Some of the contributing factors of this disease are:

  • Age: The likelihood of developing high blood pressure increases with age; this is due mainly in part to the “hardening of the arteries”, better known as arteriosclerosis.
  • Race: African Americans tend to be more prone to the affects of HBP than Caucasians. Most African Americans also tend to develop hypertension at younger ages, as well as more sever complications earlier in life.
  • Economic Status: HBP is more common among individuals with lower levels of education, particularly lower socioeconomic individuals within society. Individuals located within the Southeastern United States, who are both African American and Caucasian, are both more likely to develop hypertension than residents in other locations.
  • Heredity: HBP is often carried within family genes, and simply inherited from one generation to the next.
  • Gender: Men tend to have a higher likelihood of having hypertension than women; this likelihood is often dependent upon age and ethnicity.
  • Obesity: BP increases as body weight increases, which also increases the chances of developing this disease. People who are overweight are two to six times more likely to suffer from hypertension than individuals who are healthy.
  • Salt Intake: Due to sensitivity to salt, some individuals experience increased blood pressure through using salt; reduction in sodium often leads to lower blood pressure levels. Many fast foods, processed foods, and many over-the-counter drugs contain large amounts of sodium and consumption should be monitored.
  • Alcohol. Drinking more than one to two glasses of alcohol per day can lead to increased BP, particularly in those who are sensitive to alcohol.
  • Oral Contraceptive Use: Some women who use oral contraceptives develop HBP.
  • Physical Inactivity: Lack of exercise and being sedentary not only contribute to the development of HBP but also obesity.
  • Medicines & Drugs: Certain medications, such as cold and allergy medications, amphetamines, and diet pills often result in increased BP.
  • Various factors cause high blood pressure, however, the symptoms of hypertension often go undetected.

Hypertension often causes no definite symptoms and is often referred to as “the silent killer”.

Most individuals who suffer from HBP often don’t know they have hypertension symptoms until their blood is measured.

Often, individuals with HBP experience shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, dizziness, and headaches.

Despite these high blood pressure symptoms, most people don’t seek medical attention until they experience ongoing symptoms from the organ damaged by hypertension disease.

Heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, eye damage, and peripheral arterial disease are types of organ damage commonly experienced in chronic high blood pressure.

Although the symptoms of this disease can often go undetected, with proper diagnosis they can be identified.

What is high blood pressure and how to recognize it?

What is Hypertension

by quinn.anya under CC BY-SA


BP is measured with a sphygmomanometer, better known as a blood pressure cuff. Using a stethoscope and a cuff and gauge or via an automatic machine, blood pressure can be measured. This procedure is routine when performing physical examinations and one of the most important methods for verifying vital signs recorded during patient visits.

When evaluating BP issues, a health care professional may inquire in regards to family history, medical history, prescription and medication usage, food additives, and herbal remedies used; factors such as illegal drug use, alcohol consumption, smoking, and lifestyle habits may also be questioned.

Physical examinations involving HBP may include detecting a pulse in the wrist and ankles, listening to the heart and lungs, and feeling and listening to the abdomen in search for signs of an enlarged aorta. An eye examination may also be necessary in order to evaluate the small blood vessels on the retina in the back of the eyeball.

In addition to proper diagnosis of high blood pressure, it is crucial to develop a custom treatment to actively combat hypertension and its affects.

Hypertension Treatment

Keeping your BP under control is a lifelong challenge. Hypertension can become worse over the years, and a particular high blood pressure treatment that may have been successful earlier in life may need to be replaced or adjusted over time.

Often, BP control involves a methodical approach including dieting, weight loss, and specific lifestyle changes combined with medications if necessary.

In some cases, medications may be prescribed from the very beginning. As with any other disease, it’s important for the health care professional and the patient to work together as a team to create a custom treatment that will be successful for that particular individual.

Millions of individuals suffer from the symptoms of this disease and simply don’t know it. Without proper attention and care, the symptoms of hypertension could result in serious organ damage and even fatality.

By understanding exactly what is high blood pressure disease, what causes it, along with major symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, symptoms of this condition can easily be treated.

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