What is Hypertension?

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a pathological condition characterized by the alarming increase of the blood pressure in the arteries.


Hypertension is a common disease of our stressful lives. The single useful test for identifying the individuals at the risk of developing CHD is blood pressure.

Blood Pressure is actually the pressure of the flow of blood against the arteries If this force or thrust is high then the heart has to work even harder to cope with it and ensure a proper supply to the various organs. This extra effort could prove to be deleterious for heart itself and may result in stroke, heart attack, renal failure, or other such ailments.

Hypertension can be defined as” transitory or sustained elevation of systemic arterial blood pressure to a level likely to induce cardiovascular damage or other adverse consequences.”

Blood pressure is normal if it is below120/80mm of Hg, It consist of two components-the systolic (peak pressure in arteries) and the diastolic pressure (minimum arterial pressure).

Hypertension: Types

Well it poses a major threat to the population in socio-economic transition. Hypertension may be categorized as essential and secondary depending upon the causative mechanism.

The classification of hypertension can be of following two types:

  • Primary/ Essential Hypertension: When the cause of hypertension is unknown. It actually accounts for about 90% of all hypertensive cases.
  • Secondary Hypertension: If hypertension is associated with some other disease or pathology, which is responsible for its causative mechanism, then it is termed as secondary hypertension. Commonly associated ailments are chronic glomerulo-nephritis, tumors of adrenal glands, contraceptive pills etc.,

Borderline High Blood Pressure

It can be termed as mildly elevated blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg at some times, and lower than that at other times.”

White Coat High Blood Pressure

As suggested by the name it is the increase in blood pressure observedby themere presence of the physician/ doctor, which aggravates the patient’s anxiety and stress.


It is a condition when blood pressure is between 120/80mmof Hg and 139/89 mm of Hg. It signifies the potential risk of developing hypertension.

Isolated Systolic Hypertension

It is condition where systolic blood pressure is 140 mm of Hg or above and the diastolic blood pressure is less than 90mm of Hg.

Hypertension is considered as the blood pressure of 140/90mm of Hg or above.

Hypertension: Causes

Various factors are accountable for the development of hypertension namely smoking, salt intake, genetic. The common manifested symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea.

The exact causative factor is still unknown however; the following are associated with hypertension. These include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diabetes
  • Having a family history of hypertension
  • Living a stressful life
  • Too much intake of salt(sodium sensitivity)
  • Inadequate calcium, phosphorus and magnesium intake
  • Less physical activity
  • Deficiency of Vitamin D
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Aging
  • Medications like – Birth control medicines
    • Appetite suppressants
    • Corticosteroids
    • Migraine medications
  • Adrenal or thyroid pathologies or tumors
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coarctation of aorta
  • Usage of cocaine

Hypertension: Symptoms

About 33% of people are not aware of harboring high blood pressure. It is therefore advisable to get periodical checkups for blood pressure.Most of the times, hypertension is asymptomatic, however sometimes it may depict following symptoms:

  • Buzzing in ear noise
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Visual disturbances
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Passing blood in urine

Malignant Hypertension

In case you experience severe headache or the above mentioned symptoms, immediately consult your doctor as it may be an alarming sign of malignant hypertension. 

Hypertension: Diagnosis

EarlyDiagnosis of high blood pressure is very important, as it is the only way to evade the deadly repercussions of theotherwise fatal disease. Treatment is solely dependent upon effective diagnosis.

A qualified health professional may diagnose the high blood pressure with the help of sphygmomanometer – the device with the arm cuff, dial, pump, and valve.

Presence of high blood pressure may be spurious and can be the outcome of stress at the time of examination, so readings are repeated on consecutive days before making inferences about the blood pressure.

Thorough family history as well as personal history is taken. Individuals, who smoke, or have high values of serum cholesterol or diabetes, have high risk of developing hypertension.

  • Presence of blood in urine is also an important signal for hypertension.
  • Examination of eyes, heart, kidneys, and other organs of the body are done to find out the possibilities of hypertension.

Following test are usually done:

  • Hematological tests
  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Urinalysis
  • Kidney ultrasound 

Hypertension: Treatment 

The treatment of hypertension aims and focuses on lowering the blood pressure from 140/90mm of Hg. The mitigation of high blood pressure will significantly lessen the complications like heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

The treatment involves changing lifestyle practices, medical interventions or a combination of both.

Losing weight, exercising, lowering consumption of alcohol, etc. are the lifestyle alterations, which prove to be effective steps to combat hypertension.

The medical alternatives available for treating hypertension include the following drugs:

  • Alpha blockers
  • Beta blockers
  • Vasodilators
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Central alpha agonists
  • Diuretics
  • Renin inhibitors, including aliskiren (Tekturna) 

Hypertension: Prevention

The prevention of high blood pressure is quite simple and can be achieved by bringing about minute yet effective changes in our lifestyle. The prognosis of hypertension is good.  

Prevention is definitely better than cure. Hypertension can be easily prevented if we try to bring about a few changes in our daily life, our eating habits and our habits.

The list of suggested changes is as under:

  • Try to eat a fiber and potassium rich diet
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Regular exercises- at least 30 minutes per day
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Avoiding stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid oily food to reduce cholesterol
  • Reduce your salt (sodium) intake to less than 1,500mg a day

Hypertension: Prognosis

The prognosis of hypertension is quite good provided diagnosed at an early stage. Prognosis is affected by adopting lifestyle changes and by suitable medications. Hypertension can be best prevented by adjusting a harmonious balance between changed healthy lifestyle and regular regimes of exercises.

Hypertension: Complications

It is indeed wise to have regular checkups and adopt preventive steps to avoid a relapse of hypertension or the appearance of complications.

The Possible complications associated with hypertension are quite lethal and are listed below:

  • Aortic dissection
  • Arteriosclerosis-Blood vessel damage 
  • Brain damage
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Heart attack
  • Hypertensive heart disease
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Stroke
  • Loss of Vision

Hypertension: Glossary

  • Hypertension: High Blood Pressure.
  • Prehypertension: is a condition when blood pressure is between 120/80mmof Hg and 139/89 mm of Hg.
  • Borderline High Blood Pressure:  It can be termed as “mildly elevated blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg at some times, and lower than that at other times.”
  • White Coat High Blood Pressure: As suggested by the name it is the increase in blood pressure observed by the mere presence of the physician/ doctor, which aggravates the patient’s anxiety and stress.