Blood pressure involves two different measurements within the arteries at two different times, known to be the systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic is measured when the heart muscle is contracting while pumping blood through the arteries, while diastolic is when the heart is relaxed and receiving blood between beats. Normal blood pressure should be 120/80 mmHg, with 120 being the systolic blood pressure and 80 as the diastolic blood pressure. High blood pressure is present if an individual has a consistent reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher.
Primary (essential) hypertension. In this classification of hypertension, high blood pressure does not have any obvious underlying medical cause.
Secondary hypertension. Hypertension caused by medical conditions affecting the arteries, kidney, endocrine system, as well as the heart.
Signs and symptoms
Headaches. Hypertension related headaches are usually felt in the back of the head or first thing in the morning.
Lightheadedness or faintness.
Vertigo. Individuals experiencing vertigo may feel as though they’re dizzy or about to fall.
- Tinnitus. Also known as ringing in the ears, tinnitus may present itself as a high pitched squeal, buzzing or clicking sound.
Altered vision. This can include blurriness or dimness.
Should any of these signs or symptoms persist, it’s important to schedule a medical checkup as soon as possible. Your doctor may choose to monitor your blood pressure for up to 24 hours, to see if hypertension is present.
Age. Blood pressure often increases with age.
Lifestyle factors. Overweight and obese individuals are more likely to experience hypertension, as the heart must work harder to circulate blood through the body.
Other factors such as stress and caffeine consumption.
Reno vascular hypertension.
Antihypertensive drugs are helpful for treating hypertension. It aims to reduce high blood pressure for individuals with 140/90 mmHg or higher pressure.
Modification of Lifestyle
Most individuals with persistent hypertension will be encouraged to make lifestyle changes. Usually these changes will involve a reduction of salt intake in the diet, as well as regular exercise. Often just losing a small amount of weight will bring one’s blood pressure down to a healthier level, without the need of medication. It’s also important to develop healthy outlets for stress, such as yoga, meditation or exercise.
Untreated, hypertension can lead to stroke, blindness, heart and kidney failure. If addressed early, it’s easily treatable, provided the individual is cooperative and willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes.