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High Blood Pressure High Blood Pressure
  • What is high blood pressure?
  • What causes high blood pressure?
  • What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
  • How is high blood pressure treated?
  • What are some complications and related diseases from high blood pressure?
High Blood Pressure

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition where the pressure exerted by the blood against the artery walls over time is so high that it can lead to health problems such as heart disease.

Blood pressure can be calculated by measuring the amount of blood our heart pumps and the amount of resistance applied to the blood flow in our arteries. The more blood a heart pumps, and the narrower our arteries, the higher the blood pressure reading.

Blood pressure readings are shown in millimetres of mercury. It has 2 numbers:

  • Systolic pressure (top number). This measures the pressure in our arteries when our heartbeats.
  • Diastolic pressure (lower number). This measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.
High Blood Pressure

What causes high blood pressure?

There are 2 types of high blood pressure: primary hypertension and secondary hypertension.

Primary hypertension, or essential hypertension, usually develops over many years in adults without an identifiable cause. Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, is caused by an underlying condition. This type of hypertension tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure readings.

Causes of secondary hypertension can include:

  • Certain medications, such as s, like birth control pills, cold remedies, and decongestants
  • Thyroid problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Adrenal gland tumours
  • Congenital defects in the blood vessels
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Drug consumption (such as cocaine, amphetamines)
  • Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies and decongestants.
High Blood Pressure

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

Most people do not exhibit any signs or symptoms when they have high blood pressure, even when their readings are dangerously high. Nosebleeds, headaches or shortness of breath may be occasionally experienced, but these symptoms are non-specific to high blood pressure and typically occur when hypertension has become life-threatening.

High Blood Pressure

How is high blood pressure treated?

Treating high blood pressure usually involves lifestyle adjustments. Some examples include:

  • Observing a low-salt diet
  • Reducing alcohol consumption
  • Losing weight (if overweight) and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Having an active lifestyle

When lifestyle changes do not work, or when diet and exercise alone are insufficient, the doctor may recommend medication to lower the blood pressure. Such medication may include:

  • Diuretics
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB)
  • Calcium channel blockers
High Blood Pressure

What are some complications and related diseases from high blood pressure?

Prolonged high blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels and the organs in the body. Left unchecked, the disease can become more severe, causing complications such as:

  • Heart attacks or stroke from the hardening and thickening (atherosclerosis) of the heart’s arteries Aneurysms from the weakening or clotting of blood vessels.
  • Heart disease or heart failure.
  • Kidney damage from weakened or narrow blood vessels in the kidneys.
  • Vision loss when there is thickening, narrowing or tears to the blood vessels in the eyes.
  • Metabolic syndrome, which can cause diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
  • Dementia.
  • Memory loss and impaired cognition.