High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a medical condition where the pressure of blood in the arteries is consistently higher than normal. Hypertension is considered a long-term condition.
There are multiple stages of hypertension according to the American College of Cardiology and the European Society of Hypertension (ESH), displayed in the table below:
|Definition of Hypertension (mm Hg)||≥ 130/80||≥ 140/90|
|Normal Blood Pressure ranges (mm Hg)||
Normal: < 120/80
Optimal: < 120/80
High normal: 130-139/85-89
|Hypertension Stages (mm Hg)||Stage 1: 130-139/80-89
Stage 2: ≥ 140/90
Grade 1: 140-159/90-99
Grade 2: 160-179/100-109
Grade 3: ≥ 180/110
|Age Specific Blood Pressure targets (mm Hg)||< 65 years: <130/80
≥ 65 years: <130/80
< 65 years < 120-129/70-79
≥ 65 years < 130-139/70-79
White coat hypertension is a phenomenon where a patient exhibits higher blood pressure in a medical environment (i.e. a doctor’s office or hospital) during a blood pressure reading. The term “white coat” refers to the signature attire of a doctor.
Most hypertensive patients don’t display any symptoms, however some exhibit the following with severe hypertension:
The known causes of high blood pressure (secondary hypertension) fall into 3 general categories::
According to the NHS, these primary categories account for about 5% of all high blood pressure cases.
There are several rare genetic enzyme defects that can cause an overproduction of steroid hormones, which in turn, can cause hypertension.
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The primary forms of treatment for high blood pressure can be split into two categories:
There are different things you can change in your day-to-day life that can help manage high blood pressure. These include:
Please note: These lifestyle changes can vary in the time it takes to reduce hypertension so always speak to a doctor about your options.
Read more: How to Lower Blood Pressure
The most commonly used 5 categories of medication people take to reduce their hypertension are:
Consult your doctor on the different medications you can take to reduce your blood pressure.
Hypertension can run in families and most often, there is no genetic test applicable for the vast majority of hypertensive people.
Hypertension can be caused by some rare genetic conditions. However, a family history of high blood pressure could be attributed to other factors which a medical professional would need to diagnose.
The following rare genetic conditions carry high blood pressure as a symptom:
It is advised to avoid cough and cold remedies that contain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or decongestants such as phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine.
That is because NSAIDs and these types of decongestants can increase your blood pressure and prevent blood pressure medication from working correctly.
Speak to your doctor about alternative treatments for viruses like the common cold, flu, and any sinus infections.
Regular table salt, kosher salt and other forms of cooking salts can cause blood pressure to increase by provoking water retention and increasing blood flow in your blood vessels.
Studies also show links between high sodium intake and increased blood pressure levels due to changes in vascular resistance, the resistance against blood flow through the circulatory system, although other factors may contribute to this.
For more information, please read this medical journal entry on sodium intake and hypertension.