The Ultimate Guide to Hypertension and How it Affects the Body?


Hypertension or high blood pressure is a well known medical condition. It can cause serious health problems and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and even death.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries are vessels that convey blood from your heart to various regions of your body. Throughout the day, your blood pressure naturally rises and falls. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm of Hg).

What is a medical device to measure the blood pressure?

A sphygmomanometer is a medical device that measures blood pressure. It is a metal or plastic cuff that is inflated and then placed around the upper arm. The pressure inside the cuff is recorded using a machine. There are many types of sphygmomanometers in market but mainly following three types of sphygmomanometers are used commonly;

  1. Mercury sphygmomanometer
  2. Automatic digital sphygmomanometer
  3. Aneroid sphygmomanometer

Mercury sphygmomanometer

Read more about Sphygmomanometer click here

What are blood pressure numbers?

There are two numbers used to calculate the blood pressure, the higher value, known as systolic blood pressure, represents the pressure in your arteries while your heart beats. The lower value, diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats. If the systolic pressure is 120 and the diastolic pressure is 80, you would say “120 over 80” or write “120/80 mmHg.”

What is normal or ideal blood pressure?

A normal or ideal blood pressure range is 90/60mmHg to 120/80mmHg. It means a systolic blood pressure less than 120mmHg to 90mmHg and a diastolic blood pressure less than 80mmHg to 60mmHg is termed as normal or ideal blood pressure

What is lower blood pressure or hypotension?

Lower blood pressure, commonly known as hypotension, is when one’s blood pressure is lower than normal. A low blood pressure is defined as 90/60mmHg or below. Hypotension is a less prevalent condition. As a side effect, some medications might produce low blood pressure. A variety of underlying problems, including heart failure and dehydration, can potentially contribute hypotension (lower blood pressure).

Symptoms of low blood pressure:

If you continue to experience the following symptoms,  you should check your blood pressure:

  • drowsiness or light – headedness
  • a sick feeling
  • Vision that is hazy
  • a general sensation of weakness
  • confusion
  • fainting

If you have these symptoms it might means that your blood pressure is too low. You may have postural hypotension if you experience symptoms when standing up or changing positions abruptly.

What is high blood pressure or hypertension?

High blood pressure, often known as hypertension, is characterized by blood pressure that is higher than usual. Your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day as a result of your activity. Blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or greater is considered high.

The amount of blood pumped by your heart and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries both influence blood pressure. Your blood pressure will increases as your arteries get more constricted and your heart pumps more blood.

World Hypertension Day:

World hypertension day is observed on 27-May every year.

World Hypertension Day

Causes/Etiology of hypertension:

High blood pressure typically develops gradually. Usually I t can occur as a result of poor lifestyle choices, such as a lack of regular physical activity. Obesity and certain medical problems like diabetes might raise the risk of developing high blood pressure. Pregnancy can lead to high blood pressure as well.

Sign and symptoms of hypertension:

Hypertension is also known as a “silent killer.” Most hypertensive persons are unaware of their condition because there are no warning signs or symptoms. Therefore, it is crucial to periodically check your blood pressure.

When symptoms appear, they may include the following:

  • Irregular heart beats
  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches

However severe hypertension can result in:

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Types of hypertension:

Mainly there are two types of hypertension, one is primary hypertension and other is secondary hypertension but there are some others types given below;

Primary or  Essential hypertension:

Primary hypertension is often referred to as essential hypertension. The majority of hypertensive individuals fall into this category. It is a form of hypertension that develops gradually over several years and has no known etiology. It accounts for 90 percent of all hypertension cases.

This type of hypertension is diagnosed after a regular checkup that your blood pressure remains high three or more times and eliminates all other causes of hypertension. Essential hypertension usually causes no symptoms, however you may experience regular headaches, lethargy, dizziness, or nasal bleeds.

Despite years of research on hypertension, no precise reason has been identified. It is believed to be caused by a confluence of genetics, diet, lifestyle, and age.

Lifestyle factors that may cause hypertension my include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, stress, being overweight, eating too much salt, and not getting enough exercise. Dietary and lifestyle modifications can lower blood pressure and the risk of complications from hypertension.

Secondary hypertension:

Some people may also have high blood pressure as a result of some underlying medical condition and this type of hypertension called  secondary hypertension. Secondary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that appears suddenly and causes higher blood pressure than primary or essential hypertension. It accounts for 5% to 10% of all hypertension cases.

The most prevalent cause of secondary hypertension is a problem with the arteries that carry blood to the kidneys. Other causes include sleep apnea, adrenal gland problems and tumors, hormone imbalances, thyroid disease, and consuming too much salt or alcohol.

Over the counter drugs such as ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine can cause secondary hypertension. The good news is that secondary hypertension may frequently be controlled or cured  if the underlying reason is correctly identified.

Isolated systolic hypertension:

There are two numbers used to calculate the blood pressure, the higher value, known as systolic blood pressure, represents the pressure in your arteries while your heart beats. The lower value, diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats. A normal or ideal blood pressure range is 90/60mmHg to 120/80mmHg.

The systolic pressure rises above 140 with isolated systolic hypertension, but the diastolic pressure remains within the normal range, below 90. This kind of hypertension is most common in adults over the age of 65 and is caused by a decrease of flexibility in the arteries. When assessing the risk of cardiovascular disease in an older person, the systolic pressure is significantly more significant than the diastolic pressure.

Malignant hypertension:

Near about 1% of  hypertensive patients only have this form of hypertension. It is more prevalent in younger individuals, African-American men, and pregnant women. Malignant hypertension develops when your blood pressure rapidly rises. You may have malignant hypertension if your diastolic pressure exceeds 130.

This is a medical emergency that requires hospitalization. Numbness in the arms and legs, hazy vision, confusion, chest pain and headache are some of the symptoms malignant hypertension.

Resistant hypertension:

You may have resistant hypertension if your medical professional has prescribed three different types of antihypertensive drugs and still your blood pressure is too high. Resistant hypertension can develop in up to 30% of cases of high blood pressure.

Resistant hypertension is more likely in those who are older, obese, female, African American, or have an underlying condition such as diabetes or kidney disease. Resistant hypertension may also have a genetic component.

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