Hypertension: All things you should know about high blood pressure

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Hypertension can be measured using a sphygmomanometer.
Blood pressure can be measured using a sphygmomanometer.

Hypertension, or condition what we commonly call high blood pressure, is a disease that causes severe health problems for many people around the world. Generally, there is a recommended pressure of healthy peoples blood vessels. Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of blood vessels. The resistance of the blood vessels and the amount of blood pumped by the heart affects the blood pressure. So when increases the resistance of blood vessels (resistance increases when narrower the blood vessels due to thrombus, infections) and pumping a large amount of blood from your heart increases the blood pressure.

Increasing blood pressure leads to complicated health problems like stroke, heart problems, kidney failure or some times death. But the thing is, most people do not know they are suffering from hypertension due to lack of symptoms. The unidentified disease causes to worsen other health problems. So we hope to explain simply all things that you should know about hypertension.

The current acceptance of hypertension (HTN) is systolic blood pressure (SBP) is 130mmHg or more and/or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) more than 80 mmHg.

Normally, you have seen that blood pressure show by two numbers. Do you know what are the meanings or what are those values shown? The top number or higher value is the systolic pressure and bottom number or low value is the diastolic pressure. It is nice to know these things for your common sense.

Systolic pressure

The heart pumps the blood necessary to all your body. For that, the heart generates pressure by muscle contraction and send it to the arteries. The pressure that heart creates on the blood vessels called systolic pressure. The normal level of systolic pressure is, less than 120mmHg.

While the diastolic pressure remains unchanged, only the systolic pressure may change. This is the most common type of hypertension among elders (more than 65 years old). But in some times in younger too. Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, artery stiffness or valve problems of the heart can cause to increase the systolic pressure. The chronic isolated systolic pressure can lead the stroke, kidney failure and other heart diseases.

Diastolic pressure

The diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between two beats. In this time, the heart is filling with blood. Normal diastolic pressure is less than 80mmHg. Though the diastolic pressure is a constant amount if systolic pressure at a high level it considers as high blood pressure.

Some times diastolic pressure can decrease lower than it should be. It causes to decrease the oxygen transport to the heart muscles and it called diastolic heart failure. People with coronary artery problems are high risk for this condition. Due to lowering the blood flow to the heart, the individual may face heart failure symptoms like heart pain/ angina, shortness of breathing (SOB), confusion, sweating, palpitation. Too much salt intake, some medications (Alpha-blockers), ageing are the possible causes to decrease the diastolic pressure.

Blood pressure reading chart

Blood pressure reading chart
Blood pressure reading chart – American Heart Association

Why hypertension serious?

An individual can live with this disease for years without any symptom of hypertension. Though it is, the kidney and other organs may be damaged continuously. By the time of diagnosing, there may have been serious health problems, such as strokes and kidney failure. Apart from these complications of hypertension, it may temporarily disrupt the blood supply to the brain also. It may be serious health problems like dementia, cognitive impairments, ministroke or stroke. Blurred vision and complete vision loss are other possible health problems that occur due to hypertension. Both men and women have to experience sexual dysfunction due to poor blood supply toward the sexual area. Erection problems among the male and dryness of sexual area and poor desire among the women. More details about complications of hypertension…

Causes for hypertension

An exact cause for hypertension is not known yet and it may be a result of an underlying condition. If it occurs without another health condition, it called as primary/ essential hypertension and if it occurs as a result of another disease condition called secondary hypertension.

Possible causes for primary hypertension

  • poor activity level; lack of exercises
  • blood plasma volume
  • hormones
  • stress
  • other environmental factors

Causes for secondary blood pressure

  • Mainly affect kidney problems (Chronic kidney disease-CKD): when the kidney fails to filter out fluids, they store as excess fluid in the body. Those fluids cause to increase the blood pressure.
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Adrenal gland cancers (pheochromocytoma)
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Pregnancy
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Obesity
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Birth defects (related to blood vessels)
  • Medications (contraceptives, over the counter pain relief pills)
  • Drugs

Risk factors

  • Age – With the age increases the risk of hypertension due to narrow the arteries by plaque buildup. It is common in people for more than 60 years old.
  • Heredity – High blood pressure inherits from parents in most times. It has linked to risk factors like obesity and high cholesterol level. In obese people, blood vessels transport the blood in high volume and it leads to an increase in the pressure of artery walls.
  • Inactivity – Lack of activity tends to increase heart rate and then heart start to work hard. Less physical activities increase other risk factors like overweight also.
  • Ethnicity – This mostly affects for black peoples more than white people. Complications are also higher among Africans than the white population. Some times it appears in younger ages in American Africans. The cause for it might their obesity or overweight.
  • Tobacco – Tobacco has an ability to rapidly increase the blood pressure temporary and it’s content damages the artery walls and they may narrow. it is a cause for hypertension and heart diseases.
  • Sex – According to some evidence, men are more prone to high blood pressure more than women. Most women are affected after the menopause.
  • Salt – Taking too much salt increases the ion level of body fluid and increase the volume of body fluids. It causes the raise BP.
  • Low potassium level – Potassium work as a key mineral for balance the sodium level. Low potassium level causes the accumulate a high sodium level in the blood.
  • Alcohol – Taking too much alcohol for a long time damages the heart and its functions.
  • Other health conditions – Some chronic diseases like CKD, diabetes increase the risk of blood pressure.
  • Stress – High-stress raises hypertension temporary. Activities which you are done in stress may increase the risks. Taking too much alcohol, food.
  • Pregnancy
  • Unhealthy diet


As we noticed above, most times, you don’t know whether you have hypertension (one-third of people don’t know they have it). It is the most dangerous thing about this disease. And complications also not simple occur due to suffering from hypertension for a long time. Regular checkup is the best way to know your blood pressure level. But if you have any sign of these things you may have hypertension.

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • vision problems/ blurred vision
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest pain/ Chest tightness
  • Irregular heartbeat

If you have these symptoms, the best thing you have to do is to meet your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Untreated hypertension leads to more complicated health problems like heart diseases, kidney problems, stroke and vision problems. So be careful.

How to diagnose?

Diagnosing the disease is very simple than other diseases. It is not painful and no need to take a blood sample or another specimen from your body. A doctor or nurse will check your blood pressure using a blood pressure monitor machine.

Managements and treatments of high blood pressure

Lifestyle changes and medications help to control the disease.

Lifestyle changes

You can follow good lifestyle modifications like taking healthy foods and doing regular exercise to prevent hypertension. Apart from lifestyle changes drugs also may need to some people according to their disease condition. Here are some life habits to prevent or control hypertension.

Regular exercises

Exercises help to lower blood pressure and relieve stress. For exercises, you don’t need to go to a gym and it is enough your day to day activities. Swimming, walking, jogging, biking are more effective activities. Some guidelines show hypertension patients have to engage at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, aerobic exercise every week, or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise once a week.

Reduce the stress

Stress leads people to do bad things like taking alcohol, tobacco. But the ability to stress management gives you the ability to control blood pressure. When someone in stress increases his hormone level and heart rate. It causes high blood pressure. Good manners like meditation, yoga, walking and reading relax your mind and help to reduce the blood pressure.


Healthy diet patterns protect you from different diseases. Hypertension also can manage by foods habits. The high amount of salt and low potassium increases blood pressure. Though an individual takes salt about 9g to 12g (grams) per day, the recommended amount (by WHO) is less than 5 mg per day. Higher alcohol level also affects the disease. So professionals recommend, for men to take two alcoholic drinks per day and for women one alcoholic drink per day (by American Heart Association). Fatty or oily foods increases the risk of blood pressure and taking vegetables and fruits helps to a healthy life. Especially prevent from trans fat, animal fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Correct BMI

Suitable body weight is important for a healthy life though you have a disease or not. High body weight increases the pressure and when blood pressure decrease, reduces body weight. The fatty peoples’ heart has to create extra pressure to pump blood to their large body. So when an individual becomes thin, pressure also decreases. So keeping suitable body weight according to the height (correct BMI) is very important.


There are specific drugs that are prescribed to treated hypertension. Those are started from low doses and gradually increase according to the severity of the disease. These medications may give combined two or few drugs together. There are fewer side effects of most of these drugs and in most time occurs mild side effects. The given drug choose according to the individual’s condition and his underline diseases. Example medications for hypertension are;

  • diuretics (thiazides, chlorthalidone, indapamide)
  • calcium-channel blockers
  • beta-blockers, alpha-blockers
  • central agonists
  • vasodilators
  • peripheral adrenergic inhibitor
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)


Hypertension is a dangerous disease that can cause another serious diseases and complications. If you have hypertension be alert and try to control your blood pressure. And you may healthy be alert regarding the possible symptoms and if you have any symptom meet a doctor to diagnose and treatments. Due to lifestyle changes are very important, follow good healthy manners. For more information about health-topics follow helabeauty.info our website.