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Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a very common and serious condition that can lead to and/or complicate many health problems. These include coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and heart failure. About one in three adults in the U.S. have hypertension, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
There are three general types of hypertension. Essential hypertension occurs when the condition has no known cause. When 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.
Hypertension has a variety of causes. Blood pressure generally tends to rise with age. Hypertension can also be caused by other medical conditions, such as thyroid disease or chronic kidney disease. Hypertension 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 hypertension.
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 blood pressure, age, underlying cause, medical history, the presence of complications and general health. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of hypertension.
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.
Making a diagnosis of hypertension includes performing a complete evaluation that includes a medical history and physical examination and a series of 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 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 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 hypertension....more »
A diagnosis of hypertension begins with taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam that includes blood pressure monitoring. A diagnosis of hypertension may be overlooked or delayed because in its early stages there generally are no symptoms until complications arise.
When there are symptoms, such as ...more misdiagnosis »
The following medical conditions are some of the possible
causes of High blood pressure.
There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor
about your symptoms.
Home medical tests possibly related to High blood pressure:
Review the causes of these more specific types of High blood pressure:
Review causes of types of High blood pressure in more specific categories:
Review causes of more specific types of High blood pressure:
Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with High blood pressure, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.
The most effective treatment plan for hypertension uses a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans are also individualized to best address the specific cause and the patient's age, medical history, and severity of hypertension. Hypertension is highly treatable and in most people, prompt and ongoing treatment will result in a normalization of blood pressure ...High blood pressure Treatments
Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of High blood pressure may include:
Review further information on High blood pressure Treatments.
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for High blood pressure may include:
Real-life user stories relating to High blood pressure:
Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to High blood pressure or relevant symptoms:
Various tests are used in the diagnosis of High blood pressure. Some of these are listed below :
The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible
causes of High blood pressure as a symptom.
Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using,
including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing High blood pressure as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for High blood pressure may include these symptoms:
Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:
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Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom High blood pressure:
During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: High blood pressure. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.
Create your printable checklist here.
Read more about causes and High blood pressure deaths.
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Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:
Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels. Blood pressure that remains high over time is called hypertension. Extra fluid in your body increases the amount of fluid in your blood vessels and makes your blood pressure higher. Narrow or clogged blood vessels also raise blood pressure. (Source: excerpt from High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease: NIDDK)
Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels. Blood... (Source: excerpt from High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease: NIDDK)
The list of organs typically affected by High blood pressure may include, but is not limited to:
The list below shows some of the causes of High blood pressure mentioned in various sources:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of High blood pressure. Of the 398 causes of High blood pressure that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'High blood pressure' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of High blood pressure or choose View All.
The following list of medical conditions have High blood pressure or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Ask or answer a question about symptoms or diseases at one of our free interactive user forums.
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This information shows analysis of the list of causes of High blood pressure based
on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:
Depending on the seriousness of the onset of High blood pressure, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.
Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :
Subtypes of High blood pressure:
Medical Conditions associated with High blood pressure:
Symptoms related to High blood pressure:
Hypertension (398 causes), Obesity (236 causes), Metabolic syndrome (50 causes), Rein angiotensin system, Malignant hypertension (5 causes), Systolic blood pressure, Diastolic blood pressure, Stroke (192 causes)
Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:
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Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about High blood pressure and many other medical conditions:
Medical research papers related to High blood pressure include:
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