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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

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to High Blood Pressure/Hypertension:

Wrongly Diagnosed with High Blood Pressure/Hypertension?

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 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 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 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 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 more »

Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed, leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed. People become 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 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, more »

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. 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 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 more »

Over-diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension in obese patients: A diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension, particularly pulmonary arterial hypertension, is often a misdiagnosis in 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 more »

Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but more »

High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: High Blood Pressure/Hypertension

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to High Blood Pressure/Hypertension:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to High Blood Pressure/Hypertension, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Animations

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Related High Blood Pressure/Hypertension Info

More information about High Blood Pressure/Hypertension

  1. High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Introduction
  2. Symptoms
  3. Treatments
  4. Misdiagnosis
  5. Home Testing
  6. Types
  7. Complications

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