Hypertension – Causes and Symptoms

With a rapid change in lifestyles, work pressures, a fast paced life or even personal habits, hypertension has come across as a medical issue of significant magnitude and serious concern.

The condition is vastly prevalent in both, developing and developed countries. In United States, 67 million people are afflicted by hypertension, which is nearly one in every three adults, and only half of these people (47%) have the condition under control. Some other medical disorders which are equally risky are also attributed to the condition. Around 7 in 10 people who have their first heart attack are afflicted by hypertension. And the same stands true for stroke as well. Around 8 in 10 people who suffer from their first stroke have high blood pressure. Moreover, hypertension is very often linked with kidney ailments, and if one is suffering from a kidney disease, his chances of contracting hypertension are higher.

What is hypertension?

When our heart beats, it pumps blood through the entire body by means of arteries, and blood pressure is defined as the force of blood on the vessel walls. Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure.

When one’s blood pressure is higher, the heart is required to pump harder, and the condition is called hypertension. This is a condition that has many effects on our body. It could cause damage to organs and many illnesses as well, such as kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke or aneurysm, which is swelling of arteries or cardiac chambers.

Normal levels of blood pressure should be below 120/80, wherein 120 is the peak blood pressure in arteries and 80 is the minimum blood pressure in arteries. When blood pressure reaches the limit of 140/90, the condition is known as hypertension.

If one suffers from high blood pressure due to unknown causes, it is known as essential blood pressure. But hypertension may be caused due to secondary causes, such as kidney disorders or tumors, and the same is known as secondary hypertension.

The condition is more prevalent in adults and seniors, but even those younger, teens and children could be at risk. About two million teens and children in United States are afflicted by hypertension.

What causes hypertension?

There are some factors which are known to enhance the risk of occurrence of hypertension. These include smoking, being obese or overweight, not getting regular exercise in everyday life, or even high levels of salt intake.

Similarly, insufficient consumption of calcium, magnesium or potassium from our diets, a deficiency of Vitamin D or higher alcohol consumption increase the chances of prevalence of hypertension. Stress makes one more vulnerable to hypertension, and even genetics, or a prior family history of hypertension makes one more likely to contract the condition. Kidney ailments, some thyroid problems or tumors also make one more vulnerable to hypertension.

How can one find out if he has hypertension?

Some symptoms of hypertension include severe headaches, chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, nausea, problems with breathing, or blood in the urine. However, it very often happens that a person suffering from hypertension does not have any of these symptoms. This is common, and one in three people who are afflicted by hypertension do exhibit any of the symptoms of hypertension. So one must try and make sure that he goes for periodic blood screening tests, even if no symptoms of high blood pressure are prevalent.

Hypertension 101 – Is There a Difference Between High Blood Pressure and Hypertension?

Hypertension 101 is another article in a series on high blood pressure. For a complete list of hypertension symptoms, see the article ‘High Blood Pressure Symptoms.’ A hypertension treatment is also covered in other articles in this series.

Hypertension is the medical term used to describe high blood pressure. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but typically, the term ‘high blood pressure’ is used when referring to a blood pressure reading consistently above 140/90 mmHg. The term ‘pre-hypertension’ or ‘pre-hypertensive’ is used when the systolic (top number) reading is consistently between 120 and 139 or the diastolic (bottom number) reading is consistently between 80 and 89. Those in the pre-hypertension range are more likely to develop high blood pressure.

Essential Hypertension

When the underlying cause of high blood pressure is not determined, it is classified as ‘essential hypertension.’ It’s also referred to as ‘primary hypertension.’ Of those patients with high blood pressure, 90-95 percent are diagnosed with essential hypertension. The medical expression, ‘idiopathic’ is also used to describe an illness without an obvious cause.

Secondary Hypertension

When the cause of hypertension is clearly identified or determined, it is diagnosed as secondary hypertension. This diagnosis can be the result of a number of health issues, including:

  • Medication side effects
  • Some types of cancers and tumors
  • Kidney problems
  • Pregnancy

Pregnancy Hypertension

Hypertension is a common medical problem experienced during pregnancy. This type of hypertension is classified into the four following categories:

  • Chronic hypertension
  • Preeclampsia-eclampsia
  • Preeclampsia superimposed on chronic hypertension
  • Gestational hypertension

The term ‘gestational hypertension’ has replaced the older term of ‘pregnancy induced hypertension’ and is a more accurate description. Preeclampsia and toxemia – disorders of gestational hypertension – are responsible for more than 76,000 maternal deaths and more than 500,000 infant deaths annually.

Hypertension Statistics for the United States

  • More than 56,000 people were killed by hypertension in the United States in 2006
  • One-in-three adults has hypertension (about 74.5 million people)
  • In 2006, of those experiencing hypertension, 77.6% were aware of their condition, only 67.9% were being treated, more than 44% had it under control and over 55% didn’t have it under control
  • The death rate from hypertension between 1996 to 2006 increased 19.5% and the number of deaths went up 48.1%

Patients taking a certain beta-blocker have a 51% greater chance to develop new onset diabetes compared to those taking a calcium channel blocker. Be sure to carefully consider the many adverse side effects when taking high blood pressure medications. Often one medication will cause severe and deadly side effects while trying to control a separate condition.

Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) Statistics

  • More than 2 million serious ADRs occur annually
  • More than 106,000 deaths are caused annually from ADRs
  • 350,000 ADRs occur among nursing home patients

Mixing prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can be fatal. OTC drugs that contain alcohol and antihistamine slow the heart rate and suppress breathing, making them deadly when taken with a narcotic drug.

If you suffer from hypertension, eliminating the causes should be your top priority. For everyone else, prevention should be the first concern. And the first step is learning how one tiny toxin that’s found in many consumable items can affect your blood pressure and health. Eliminating it from your life will help you take control of both your blood pressure and your health.