Hypertension: Symptoms, Types and Treatments

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Update Date May 12, 2020
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Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, is a condition in which blood flows through blood vessels (arteries) at higher than normal pressures. Your blood pressure readings are consistently 140 over 90, or higher, over a number of weeks. This is caused when the force of your blood against the artery walls is higher pressure than usual. Even without symptoms, in the long run, this can lead to health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

Hypertension is quite common. However, you can have hypertension for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, it can cause damage to your arteries and blood vessels.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Most people with hypertension have no signs or symptoms, although they are in danger. A 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.

Symptoms of hypertension include:

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleeds
  • Flushing
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Visual changes
  • Blood in the urine

Most people find out about this condition when they go for the routine check-up with the doctor. A full check-up of the body can help you identify any risk factors early and accurately.

The best way to know if you have hypertension is to get regular blood pressure readings. Self-monitoring your blood pressure at home and attend your regular check-up at the hospitals.

If you only have a yearly physical, talk to your doctor about your risks for hypertension and other readings you may need to help watch your blood pressure.

Types of hypertension

There are two types of hypertension. Each type has a different cause.

Primary hypertension

Primary hypertension is also called essential hypertension. There is no identified cause. In this case, hypertension tends to inherit in the family. A combination of factors may play a role. These factors include:

  • Genes
  • Physical changes
  • Environment

Secondary hypertension

Secondary hypertension is a consequence of certain conditions and medications.

Secondary hypertension is more severe than primary hypertension. It is a consequence of certain conditions and medications such as :

  • Kidney disease
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Problems with your thyroid
  • Side effects of medications
  • Use of illegal drugs

Treatment options for high blood pressure

Depending on your body’s condition, your doctor will recommend various treatment plan, which can include medication, lifestyle change and other complementary activities. The goal is to get blood pressure below the high range.

Lifestyle changes

A healthy lifestyle is the first line of defense against high blood pressure. Habits that help control blood pressure include:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Staying physically active
  • Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption
  • Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand
  • Managing stress
  • Getting support from family and friends

Medication for high blood pressure

You may need to try different medicines until you find one that works for you.

Some of the medications used to treat hypertension include:

Beta-blockers: This type of medicine makes your heart beat slower and with less force. This reduces the amount of blood pumped through your arteries, which lowers blood pressure.

Diuretics: High sodium levels and excess fluid in your body can increase blood pressure. Diuretics, also called water pills, help your kidneys remove excess sodium from your body. As the sodium leaves, the amount of fluid in your blood decreases, which helps lower your blood pressure.

Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs): While ACE inhibitors aim to stop the creation of angiotensin, ARBs block angiotensin from binding with receptors. Without the chemical, blood vessels won’t tighten. That helps relax vessels and lower blood pressure.

Calcium channel blockers: Excess calcium in the smooth muscles of your heart causes harder, stronger heartbeats. Reduce the calcium, and the force of the heartbeats will also decrease. That helps lower blood pressure and relaxes arteries and blood vessels.

Alpha-2 agonists: This type of medication slows the nerve impulses that cause blood vessels to tighten. This helps muscles relax, which reduces blood pressure.

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

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