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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is diagnosed if patient consistently has a blood pressure reading of 140 over 90 or any higher reading. In most of the cases patients lead normal life and hypertension shows no symptoms. It is often suspected of hypertension from a result of an abnormal reading as a part of a systematic exam.

Types of hypertension

Hypertension can be divided in two types: essential and secondary. The cause of essential hypertension is unknown. The cause of the secondary hypertension may be an underlying cause, most commonly kidney disease, hormonal imbalance, or drugs and alcohol abuse.

Essential hypertension is connected with a number of risk factors: age, obesity, family history, lack of exercise, salty diet, stress, or fatty diet.Secondary hypertension occurs when blood pressure rises due to another health condition such as kidney infection, narrowing of the arteries, use of contraceptive pills or other hormonal medication or illegal substances abuse.

High blood pressure rarely shows any signs and most of the people don’t even experience the symptoms. Regular pressure checks may often be the only way to diagnose this condition on time and take the appropriate measures. The other means of self-help that may prevent the development of hypertension are the anger management program, that may lower patient's anxiety level, and cutting down on salt. Most of the food has hidden salt in it so it may be of extreme importance to start checking food labels for salt content and choose healthier options.

Complications

Hypertension causes patient’s heart to pump harder and arteries carry blood that is moving under the tremendous pressure. If heart and arteries carry on to work under this stress for long periods of time, they may weaken. This can affect patient’s organs and general health. Pregnant women suffering from hypertension may experience severe complications, effect low birth-weight or premature birth. Another serious condition is also related to high blood pressure levels: preeclampsia, that may lead to eclampsia - life-threatening seizure that may endanger lives of both mother and child and the second leading cause of maternal death in US.

That is why an early diagnosis is of extreme importance. Hypertension develops without any symptoms so the regular checkups may be the only means of finding that patient’s health is in danger. The only way to know if one suffers from high blood pressure is to get tested.

Risk factors

It is known that hormonal therapy and taking birth pills can increase blood pressure. Obesity, diet pills, antidepressants may cause the same unwanted effect. Women with high-normal blood pressure levels that use birth control pills require special attention. They should not use tobacco and should be physically active. Age is a significant risk factor but it should be remembered that hypertension is not only a disease of elderly population.

Treatment

Habitual care and cautious monitoring are key to reducing the dangers of hypertension. In some cases patients will use blood pressure medication as prescribed. It is important to continue using medications even if the blood pressure levels drop. Healthy diet, stress management program, lower salt intake and regular aerobic exercise should also be introduced as a means of self-treatment.

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