What is Hypertension or High Blood Pressure?


What is hypertension? The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension, a common condition affecting the body’s arteries. In hypertensive patients, the pressure in arteries is higher than it should be. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury or mm Hg. A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 mm Hg.

According to the American heart association, blood pressure is divided into four general categories. The ideal blood pressure reading is categorized as normal reading.

  • Normal blood pressure- Blood pressure is 120/89 mmHg or lower
  • Raised blood pressure- It ranges from 120/80mm Hg to 129/80mmHg
  • Stage 1 hypertension ranges from 130/80 mmHg to 139/89mmHg.
  • Stage 2 hypertension is when the blood pressure reading is 140/90mm Hg or higher.

Blood pressure higher than 180/120 mmHg is considered a hypertensive emergency. Seek immediate medical help for anyone with these blood pressure readings. If left untreated, hypertension puts you at high risk of heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening health conditions. If an individual is healthy, which means have no signs of a medical condition, then he/she will be healthy no matter what age. One should have blood his/her pressure checked at least every two years. Some people need more frequent checks, so be sure to do this. Healthy lifestyle habits such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, and not smoking can help prevent and control blood pressure. At the same time, some people need oral medications to control their uncontrolled blood pressure levels.

hypertension or high blood pressure

What Are The Symptoms?

Most hypertensive patients have no symptoms, even when the blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. You can remain hypertensive for years without exhibiting any symptoms. However, some people with hypertension may have headaches, shortness of breath, and nosebleeds. However, these symptoms of high blood pressure aren’t specific. They usually do not occur until the blood pressure levels have reached a severe or life-threatening stage.

When To Consult A Doctor?

Blood pressure check-ups are crucial for overall health. How often you should check your blood pressure usually depends on your age and overall health. You may get your blood pressure checked at least every two years, starting at age 18. If you are between 18 to 39 or above 40, you may be at high risk of high blood pressure; get your blood pressure checked every year. Your doctor will likely recommend more frequent readings if you have blood pressure or other risk factors for heart disorders. Children aged three and older may have blood pressure measured as a part of their yearly check-ups.

What Are The Causes?

In most cases, it is not clear what causes high blood pressure. But some things can increase the risk. Reasons for high blood pressure may include unhealthy lifestyle picks, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, and obesity, can also increase the risk of developing high blood pressure. Hypertension can also happen during pregnancy. It is important to manage your blood pressure levels to lower your risk for serious health conditions affecting your eyes, brain, heart, and kidneys.

Who Are At Higher Risk Of Developing High Blood Pressure?

Risk factors can make people more likely to develop high blood pressure. Some you can control, while some you can’t.

Risk factors that can be controlled are:

  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Physical inactivity
  • Being obese overweight
  • Unhealthy diet (low in potassium, high in sodium, and drinking too much alcohol).

    Factors That Are Difficult To Control:

  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Gender (males)
  • Increasing age
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Chronic kidney disease

Psychosocial stress and socioeconomic status are also risk factors for high blood pressure. These can affect one’s basic living needs, medication access, health care professionals, and the ability to adopt lifestyle changes.


What Can You Do About High Blood Pressure?

  • Do not smoke and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a balanced diet that contains very few saturated and trans fats and is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-dairy products. It is recommended to consume less than 1500 mg/day of salt. In some cases, reducing daily intake by 1000 mg can help.
  • Eat foods that are rich in potassium. Be sure to consume 3500 to 5000 mg of dietary potassium per day.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Do not have more than one drink per day if you are a woman or two drinks a day if you are a man.
  • Exercise regularly. Make sure you perform 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week. You can add muscle-strengthening exercises at least twice weekly for more health benefits.
  • Take high blood pressure drugs the way your health care specialist tells you. You can buy blood pressure medication online at the lowest price.

How Can You Tell You Have It?

The only way to know your blood pressure levels is to check them regularly. For proper diagnosis of high blood pressure, your health care specialist will analyze two or more readings obtained on two or more visits.