Know the basics

What is hypertension?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, occurs when the force of your blood against the artery walls is higher pressure than usual. You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, in the long run, this can lead to health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers. The top number is called the systolic blood pressure. The bottom number is called the diastolic blood pressure. For example, 120 over 80 (written as 120/80 mmHg).

One or both of these numbers can be too high. (Note: These numbers apply to people who are not taking medicines for blood pressure and are not ill.)

  • Normal blood pressure is when your blood pressure is lower than 120/80 mmHg most of the time.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) is when your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or above most of the time.
  • If your blood pressure numbers are 120/80 or higher, but below 140/90, it is called pre-hypertension.

If you have heart or kidney problems, or you had a stroke, your doctor may want your blood pressure to be even lower than that of people who do not have these conditions.

How common is hypertension?

Hypertension is extremely common. It can affect patients at any age. It commonly affects elderly people. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Most people with hypertension have no signs or symptoms, although they are in danger. Few of them may have some common symptoms of hypertension such as headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds. However, these signs and symptoms aren’t specific and don’t usually occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • If you have a high blood pressure, you should see your doctor periodically.
  • If you’re age 18 with no risk factors, come to check your blood pressure reading at least every two years.
  • If you’re age over 18 with high of risk factors, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading every year.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes hypertension?

There are two types of high blood pressure.

  • Essential hypertension: there is no identified cause. In this case, hypertension tends to inherit in the family, more common in men than women. It also could be profoundly affected by diet and lifestyle.
  • Secondary hypertension: this type of high blood pressure is a consequence of certain conditions and medications such as kidney disease, thyroid problems, adrenal gland tumors, using birth control pills, cold remedies, cocaine, excessive alcohol consumption.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for hypertension?

There are many risk factors for hypertension, such as:

  • The older you are the higher chance you have in this disease.
  • High blood pressure is particularly common among blacks, often developing at an earlier age than it does in whites.
  • Family history.High blood pressure tends to run in families.
  • Being overweight or obese. An increasing blood flow for supplying oxygen and nutrients to your tissues can lead to a higher pressure on your artery walls. It is the same in inactive people who have higher heart rates.
  • Inadequate diet. Too much salt, tobacco, alcohol or too little potassium, vitamin D can be the reasons for other diseases, resulting in high blood pressure eventually.
  • Other conditions. Stress and certain chronic conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea also increase your risk of high blood pressure.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is hypertension diagnosed?

There will be the special device to diagnose your condition called blood pressure cuff, which has an inflatable rubber platter, placing around your arm and measure your blood pressure. You might be required to take two to three blood pressure readings in both arms each at three or more separate appointments before diagnosing you with high blood pressure.

Blood pressure measurements fall into four general categories:

  • Normal blood pressure.Your blood pressure is normal if it’s below 120/80 mm Hg.
  • Prehypertension is a systolic pressure ranging from 120 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure ranging from 80 to 89 mm Hg. Prehypertension tends to get worse over time.
  • Stage 1 hypertension.Stage 1 hypertension is a systolic pressure ranging from 140 to 159 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure ranging from 90 to 99 mm Hg.
  • Stage 2 hypertension.More severe hypertension, stage 2 hypertension is a systolic pressure of 160 mm Hg or higher or a diastolic pressure of 100 mm Hg or higher.

The common type of high blood pressure among people older than 60 is isolated systolic hypertension. The systolic pressure is high (greater than 140 mm Hg) meanwhile the diastolic pressure is normal (less than 90 mm Hg).

How is hypertension treated?

It depends on your health conditions, some medications will be prescribed: Thiazide diuretics, Beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, ARBs, Calcium channel blockers, Renin inhibitors.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage hypertension?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with hypertension:

  • Less salt in your daily meals;
  • Workout usually;
  • Stop smoking, reduce the amount of alcohol intake;
  • Keep in good shape.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017