High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Introduction
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a very common and serious condition that can lead to and/or complicate many health problems, including coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and heart failure. About one in three adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure/hypertension, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Blood pressure is defined as the pressure that is put on the walls of the arteries as blood is pumped through the circulatory system. Blood pressure is measured as a two numbers (i.e. 120/80nnHg) but it is not a fixed number. Normally, blood pressure rises and falls as a response to many situations. For example, blood pressure will rise during strenuous activity in order to ensure that all the cells of the body get additional amounts of oxygen-rich blood. Blood pressure may also rise in response to stressful situations, and it is normally lower during periods of relaxation or sleep. It is the cumulative effects of blood pressure that is stays too high that results in serious complications.
There are three general types of high blood pressure/hypertension. Essential hypertension occurs when the condition has no known cause. When high blood pressure/hypertension is caused by another condition or disease process, it is called secondary hypertension. When only the systolic blood pressure number (the top number) is high, it is called isolated systolic hypertension, which is common in older adults.
High blood pressure/hypertension has a variety of causes. It generally tends to rise with age. It can also be caused by other medical conditions, such as thyroid disease or chronic kidney disease. It may also be a side effect of certain medications, such as over-the-counter cold medications and oral contraceptives ("the Pill") and other hormone drugs. Obesity and heredity also play a role in the development of high blood pressure/hypertension.
High blood pressure/hypertension is often called "the silent killer" because it generally has no symptoms until serious complications develop. When symptoms do occur, they can differ between individuals depending on such factors as the level of high blood pressure/hypertension, age, underlying cause, medical history, the presence of complications and general health. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of high blood pressure/hypertension.
Making a diagnosis of high blood pressure/hypertension includes performing a complete evaluation that includes a medical history and physical examination and blood pressure readings.
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers, (i.e.120/80mmHg). The "top" number is called the systolic number, which is a measurement of the pressure on the artery walls when the heart beats. The "bottom" number is the diastolic number, which is a measurement of the pressure on the artery walls when the heart is resting between beats.
Many people think of a reading of 120/80mmHg as "normal". In fact there are many variations of normal that are dependent on a variety of factors. Unless a blood pressure reading is very high and needs to be addressed immediately, blood pressure readings will be monitored over period of time to assess for trends and to get an idea of an individual's overall blood pressure.
As a very general guide, adults should keep their blood pressure below 140/90mmHg. In addition, current guidelines consider consistent readings over 120/80mmHg as a condition called pre-hypertension, which should be monitored and addressed to ensure that blood pressure does not rise higher over time.
It is very possible that a diagnosis of high blood pressure/hypertension can be missed or delayed because there are generally no symptoms in the early stages. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of high blood pressure/hypertension.
Patient compliance with a good treatment plan generally results in a normalization of blood pressure and also minimizes complications. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of high blood pressure/hypertension. ...more »
High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Symptoms
Most people are not aware that they have high blood pressure/hypertension because of a general lack of symptoms until major complications arise. In rare cases, some people with high blood pressure/hypertension may have headaches or nosebleeds.
Despite a general lack of symptoms, uncontrolled high blood pressure/hypertension damages the kidney and heart and large ...more symptoms »
High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Treatments
The most effective treatment plan for high blood pressure/hypertension uses a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans are also individualized to best address the specific cause and the patient's age, medical history, and level of high blood pressure/hypertension. High blood pressure/hypertension is highly treatable and in most people, prompt and ongoing treatment will result in a ...more treatments »
High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Misdiagnosis
A diagnosis of high blood pressure/hypertension begins with taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam that includes blood pressure monitoring. A diagnosis of high blood pressure/hypertension may be overlooked or delayed because in its early stages there generally are no symptoms until complications arise.
When ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
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symptoms of High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
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High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Complications
Review possible medical complications related to High Blood Pressure/Hypertension:
High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:
Misdiagnosis and High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
Metabolic syndrome often undiagnosed: Metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X, is
an often overlooked medical condition that causes a...read more »
Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss,
there are varying degrees of severity.
It is altogether too common for people to die from undiagnosed heart...read more »
Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also
many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, but actually have...read more »
Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder
called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, but often fails to be correctly...read more »
Rare heart condition often undiagnosed: The rare heart condition called long QT syndrome can lead to episodes of palpitations
and rapid heartbeat.
In rare cases, this undiagnosed condition can be fatal.
It should be considered for...read more »
Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed,
leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed.
People become concerned...read more »
Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease
is often over-diagnosed.
Patients tend to assume that any memory loss...read more »
Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for
a patient to show mental decline to dementia.
Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions,
such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease,
it...read more »
Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that
any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease.
The...read more »
Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue
with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure.
The ...read more »
Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic
disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's.
The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild...read more »
Over-diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension in obese patients: A diagnosis
of pulmonary hypertension, particularly pulmonary arterial hypertension,
is often a misdiagnosis in obese...read more »
Obesity-related conditions undiagnosed in children: A variety of conditions
are associated with obesity (see obesity), but these tend to be undiagnosed more often
in child patients than in adults.
Some of the overlooked conditions may...read more »
Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often
misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its...read more »
Read more about Misdiagnosis and High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
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