Hypertension (also called high blood pressure) occurs when blood pumps through your arteries with too much force. Blood pressure is naturally high when you first wake up, after exercising, and when you are under stress. Consistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of serious medical conditions like stroke, heart attack or heart failure.
Hypertension can be caused by another medical condition. When there is a secondary cause of the hypertension we call this Secondary hypertension. However, most of the time it has no underlying causes (Primary hypertension). Risk factors for hypertension include:
Usually there are no symptoms of hypertension. Most patients are diagnosed with hypertension when their doctor checks their blood pressure during a routine screening.
Hypertension is diagnosed using a blood pressure measurement. It is taken with an inflatable cuff placed around your upper arm and then a measurement is recorded with a pressure-measuring gauge, which measures the force of blood against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats. Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers (for example, 120 over 80). If you have hypertension, one or both of these numbers will be too high. Your blood pressure should be measured in both arms.
Lifestyle changes and medication can help you lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of complications. Lifestyle changes include:
Many different medications are available to manage hypertension. Sometimes a single medication may not be enough to reduce your blood pressure, and you will be prescribed two or more drugs.