High Blood Pressure

Understanding Hypertension

Hypertension is a medical condition in which the blood pressure of a person consistently remains above normal. It is commonly known as high blood pressure. It increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and cardiovascular disease. It is also a major cause of kidney damage.
Types of Hypertension
Hypertension can be classified in two ways:

Essential or Primary:
Essential hypertension is that situation in which no appropriate medical cause is found that can explain the patient's condition. It is mostly associated with lifestyle of the patient. As per diagnosis, about 90 percent of the cases of hypertension are classified asĀ  primary hypertension. This condition can be treated with stress-management, increased physical activity, changes in diet patterns and medications if required.

Secondary:
Secondary hypertension is the condition in which the high blood pressure is the result of other preexisting medical problems such as tumors or kidney disease. This type of hypertension accounts for the remaining 10 percent of all cases of hypertension.

Besides these two, another type of hypertension is pregnancy-induced hypertension. It appears in women after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It occurs more commonly in overweight or obese women.

Causes of Essential Hypertension:
Environment-
Environmental factors such as occupation, alcohol intake, salt intake, smoking, obesity, excessive exposure to noise and sedentary lifestyle are responsible for the development of essential hypertension.

Salt sensitivity-
More than 60 percent of essential hypertension is caused by excessive consumption of sodium chloride.

Insulin resistance-
Insulin is the hormone secreted by pancreas and is responsible for regulating the level of glucose in the body. Hyperinsulinemia or insulin resistance is considered to be responsible for increased blood pressure in some patients.

Genetics-
One of the most common genetic disorders is Hypertension. About 30 percent of total cases of hypertension are caused because patients are genetically prone to develop the disease.

Causes of Secondary Hypertension:
Endocrine and Renal Defects-
The major causes of secondary hypertension are endocrine and renal defects. After proper medication, these disorders can be cured.

Medications-
Some medications such as Ibuprofen and steroids may cause hypertension.

Age-
The number of collagen fibers in the artery increase over time. This makes the blood vessels stiffer. Because collagen fibers reduce the elasticity of the arteries, the risk of blood pressure increases with advanced age.

Treatment:
Lifestyle modification-
Weight loss, dietary modifications and regular exercise help to control and manage hypertension. It is also essential to quit smoking, as smoking is a major cause of hypertension. Reduced consumption of saturated fats and sodium and an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables help to reduce hypertension. Adopting a diet based on Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is absolutely essential to control hypertension.