Hypertension

More commonly known as high blood pressure, hypertension is a common medical condition that takes into account the resistance of a person’s blood vessels and the amount of blood their heart pumps.  The more blood pumped by the heart and the narrower the blood vessels, the higher a person’s blood pressure will be.  Over time, this can lead to more serious health conditions, such as heart disease. 

 

Symptoms

 

Because high blood pressure presents itself in more of a silent way, most people don’t experience any symptoms.  Over time, conditions may worsen enough for symptoms to become obvious.  The easiest and most effective way to know if someone has hypertension is to get regular blood pressure readings, which most doctors monitor at each appointment.

 

Some symptoms of severe high blood pressure may include the following:

 

  • Headaches

  • Shortness of breath

  • Nosebleeds

  • Dizziness

  • Chest pain

  • Blood in urine

 

Causes

 

Primary (essential) hypertension tends to have no identifiable cause and develops gradually over time.

 

Secondary hypertension is caused by an underlying condition.  This type of high blood pressure is known to cause higher blood pressure than primary hypertension.  Some of these conditions may include:

 

  • Kidney dysfunction

  • Thyroid dysfunction

  • Obstructive sleep apnea

  • Adrenal gland tumors

  • Congenital blood vessel defects

  • The use of certain medications

  • Illegal drug usage

 

Treatment

 

The first line of treatment for high blood pressure is adjustments to lifestyle.  Things such as:

 

  • Regular exercise

  • Reducing stress

  • Adding more fruits and vegetables to diet

  • Reducing salt intake

  • Lowering or eliminating alcohol consumption

 

There are medications that can assist in treating hypertension and low dosages are usually given to start out with.