Very simply, hypertension is high blood pressure.

What’s actually happening is a little more difficult to get control of for some. But without taking control, high blood pressure, or hypertension can lead to a number of serious health complications.

Every time your heart beats, blood is pumped through the entire body through your arteries. High blood pressure occurs when the arteries persistently pump the blood at a higher rate.

Your blood pressure is actually the force of your blood pushing against walls of your arteries.

What is hypertension and what is the problem with it? iIf left untreated can damage your organs, cause serious illness and lead to early death.

Normal blood pressure is below 120 mm Hg and 80 mm Hg. Blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is classified as prehypertension while blood pressure of 140/90 is considered hypertension.

Classification of Hypertension

Hypertension is classified as either essential or secondary hypertension. When the cause is unknown, your hypertension will be classified as essential, which is about 95 percent of diagnosed hypertension. Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure with a known cause such as kidney disease, tumors or medications.

It’s estimated there are 70 million adults in the United States who are affected by hypertension with the condition affecting about two million teens and children.

What’s worse is the Center for Disease Control reports more than half of those with hypertension do not have their high blood pressure in control.

What Causes Hypertension?

As mentioned above, some factors contribute to hypertension such as disease, tumors or certain medications. In most cases, the reason is not known. Some causes include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of calcium, potassium and magnesium
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Stress
  • Aging
  • Medications
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Genetics
  • Adrenal and thyroid problems

What are the Symptoms of Hypertension?

Unfortunately, there are not very many symptoms that warn us we have hypertension.

Hypertension is often referred to as the silent killer because most people suffer with it and they never know it until tragedy strikes. With that in mind, it’s important to get regular health checks.

Extremely high blood pressure may lead to more serious signs there is a problem. Problems include:

  • Severe headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Struggle breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood in the urine

How is Hypertension Diagnosed?

Most people have seen the device called sphygmomanometer, it’s the device with the arm cuff, dial, pump and valve used to measure your blood pressure. Chances are you’ll have your blood pressure taken whenever you visit your doctor.

If you doctor suspects a problem, additional testing may be required because blood pressure results can be somewhat sporadic. Also inform your doctor of other risk factors such as smoking or family history of heart disease.

How Can I Treat Hypertension?

Treating your hypertension is critical to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and other health problems.

Doctors will often prescribe blood pressure medications, but you can do a lot to reduce your blood pressure if it’s too high by making some lifestyle changes.

Losing weight, quitting smoking, eating a heart healthy diet, reducing sodium intake, exercising regularly and limiting alcohol consumption will all help you move toward lower blood pressure.

Reducing your stress levels and considering natural alternatives may also help reduce your blood pressure.

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Preventing Hypertension

If you’re interested in preventing hypertension after brining your blood pressure down or just to improve your health in general, getting adequate exercise and eating a healthy, balanced diet can go a long way to preventing hypertension.