What is Hypertension? Hypertension is one of the most common cardiovascular conditions in the world, with over seventy million people exhibiting symptoms solely in the United States. It is also the medical term for high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the amount of force that the blood causes when pushing on artery walls as it flows through the body. Over time having untreated high blood pressure can damage healthy arteries in the body and possibly lead to severe medical conditions such as heart disease or stroke.
What are the causes of Hypertension?
Although the direct causes of hypertension are not known, there are numerous factors that can contribute to the development of high blood pressure. Some of these factors include smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, stress, genetics, age, excessive consumption of alcohol, excessive amounts of salt consumption, conditions of the thyroid and adrenal glands, as well as having a history of high blood pressure in your family. When there is not an obvious cause of high blood pressure, it is referred to as essential hypertension. When a cause can be identified, the condition is called secondary hypertension.
What are the symptoms of someone with Hypertension?
What makes hypertension such a dangerous condition is that symptoms may not be noticeable. It is believed that almost one third of people who have high blood pressure do not even know it because they do not show any specific symptoms. The only true way of knowing if you have hypertension is by routinely getting your blood pressure checked by your doctor. Others may show symptoms such as migraines, pains in the chest, problems with their vision, breathing difficulties, bloody urine, chronic fatigue, or may have a heartbeat which is irregular in pace. If any of these symptoms are exhibited at once or together, it is very important to check with your doctor to determine if you may be experiencing hypertension which if left untreated may result in a serious medical condition.
What treatments are available for hypertension?
Depending on your doctor, treatment for hypertension may include not just one form of treatment but many combined to work in conjunction with each other. These different forms of treatment can include medications, changes in diet, and exercise. Lifestyle changes are also recommended as a primary way to treat hypertension. Losing weight, quitting smoking, changing your diet, reducing salt intake, and increasing the amount of daily exercise/activity are all lifestyle changes that help to reduce high blood pressure.
These lifestyle changes are also responsible for enhancing the effects of drugs used to treat hypertension. When using medications to treat high blood pressure, doctors often prescribe medicine that acts as a diuretic. Another common prescribed medication is an ACE inhibitor which is typically used for patients who also have diabetes in addition to high blood pressure. If blood pressure is extremely high then a combination of medications may be prescribed to control the condition.