Hypertension is a disease in which the blood pressure normally remains above the normal limits. The normal blood pressure is around 120/80. A systolic blood pressure (the pressure of the blood when the heart is contracting) of more than 140, and diastolic blood pressure (the pressure of the blood when the heart is relaxing) of 90 are considered as Hypertension. This chronically raised blood pressure causes damage to the arteries, upon which it is exerting this pressure, and the heart, which has to pump the blood into the arteries.
The signs and symptoms of high blood pressure do not appear until the blood pressure is so high that it becomes life-threatening. Some of the non-specific symptoms of raised blood pressure are:
- Shortness of breath
When the blood pressure is very high, it can manifest as other diseases such as:
- Hemorrhagic stroke
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
Hypertension is of two types, primary and secondary.
The cause of primary hypertension is unknown, but some of the causes of secondary hypertension can be listed as the following:
- Kidney problems
- Adrenal gland tumor
- Thyroid problems
- Defects of blood vessels
- Certain medicines
- Alcohol abuse
For the diagnosis of this health condition, it is necessary to have a raised blood pressure (systolic more than 140, and diastolic more than 90), at more than 3-4 separate occasions.
The treatment for hypertension aims to maintain the blood pressure at less than 140/90. Life style medications, as well as some of the following medicines are implicated in the treatment:
- Thiazide diuretics
- Beta blockers
- Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
- Calcium channel blockers