What is High Blood Pressure?
Many people feel embarrassed to ask their doctor the question, “What is High blood pressure?” Are they expected to know about something that doesn`t affect them? Well actually, it`s best to know about this condition even if you don`t suffer yourself, because it is a symptom of the modern lifestyle that is on the rise, even among our Teenagers.
First, there are several kinds or levels of blood pressure. You may be familiar with some of these terms:
- Stage 1 Hypertension
- Stage 2 Hypertension
- Stage 3 Hypertension is now obsolete!
- Resistant HypertensionSome terms are new as the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) guidelines have been updated and published (Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure), whereas Stage 3 hypertension is now obsolete.All come under high blood pressure which is used interchangeably with the word hypertension. It is a condition that arises when the pressure of the blood against artery walls is elevated persistently.
It is detected by the use of a BP monitoring device and often there are no noticeable symptoms.
What is high blood pressure monitoring? I explain more on my blood pressure numbers page.
Blood pressure is measured by dual readings in Millimeters of Mercury, Systolic is when the heart beats, and Diastolic when the heart rests. A benchmark for normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. The first number is the Systolic reading with the Diastolic second.
Persistent hypertension is a risk factor for heart failure and stroke.
What is High Blood Pressure a Symptom Of?
That is the question! If your doctor can`t find any medical condition that could be raising your blood pressure then it is called Primary or Essential Hypertension.
He will then ask you about your lifestyle habits such as,”Do you get enough exercise, sleep, or nutritious meals?” “Do you smoke, drink, or take recreational or over-the-counter drugs?”.
Make sure of course that he`s not the cause. You could have White Coat Hypertension , a very common condition.
On the other hand if you suffer from kidney, cardiovascular, endocrine or other medical problems that have a direct bearing then it is classed as Secondary Hypertension.
Under this classification the underlying cause is treated. But for a patient with essential hypertension, the doctor will prescribe medication that will have an effect on kidney and blood vessel mechanisms.
There are many factors that can cause high blood pressure. Here are a few of them.
- Insulin resistance
- High level of renin (hormone)
- Too much alcohol
- Too much Salt
- Potassium deficiency
- Lack of exercise
- Inherent factors
- SmokingThese are just the main contributors to hypertension.See more potential causes here…
What is High Blood Pressure Stage 1, 2?
When blood pressure is measured there are categories that a patient will be classified under. Pre-hypertensive patients will have a reading between 120/80 and 139/89. Even if the diastolic is lower, a high diastolic reading is a cause for concern at all levels.
At this stage a patient will be encouraged to look at areas of his lifestyle where he could make some changes. The doctor will monitor the progress of that patient. If they are not responding to change or have diabetes or kidney disease then medications will likely be prescribed.
Stage 1 hypertension has a higher reading of 140/90 to 159/99. Along with advise on lifestyle changes such as a diet that includes plenty of vegetables and fruit, and some kind of exercise program, a doctor will normally prescribe diuretics as a first step in treating with drugs. These are to help eliminate excess fluid and salt.
Stage 2 hypertension is categorized at a reading of 160/100 and over. This blood pressure reading is high and a more aggressive use of drugs are given to reduce pressure as quickly as possible. Diuretics as well as a combo are what will normally be prescribed, with the choice of the combo dependent on how the patient responds to drug treatment.
Stage 3 hypertension is now obsolete. It used to be when a reading goes beyond 180/110.
Usually when a patient has been tried on different drug treatments that have failed he/she is classified as having resistant hypertension.
Because of the organ damage implications that this severe type of blood pressure will cause, intravenous anti-hypertensive treatment is one of the options that a doctor can offer a patient. Another option is Renal De-nervation, a new operation where radio frequency (RF) ablation is used by the aid of a catheter to sear renal sympathetic nerves that are responsible for carrying signals from the brain which stimulate the kidneys to raise blood pressure.