What is hypertension?
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in your arteries. The higher your blood pressure the greater your risk of developing narrowed arteries which can lead to heart problems, kidney disease and strokes. Blood pressure is measured by two numbers—systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure measures cardiac output and refers to the pressure in the arterial system at its highest (pressure when the heart contracts). Diastolic pressure measures peripheral resistance and refers to arterial pressure at its lowest (pressure when the heart relaxes).
The causes of high blood pressure
The causes of high blood pressure are a bit of a mystery. About 5% of patients requiring hypertension treatment can trace their high blood pressure to a physical cause such as kidney disease. Treatment of the disease reduces the symptoms of high blood pressure. But for 95% of patients who undergo hypertension treatment, the causes of high blood pressure are unknown. Diet and stress are suspected as prime contributors to hypertension, but medical experts aren't exactly certain of all the mechanisms involved.
What are hypertension symptoms
Unfortunately, a person with high blood pressure doesn't usually see or feel any clearly identifiable hypertension symptoms. That's why high blood pressure is such a dangerous condition. Patients can think that they have perfectly normal blood pressure until hypertension does its damage, and they're suddenly confronted with heart problems, or even strokes.
What are the risks of hypertension
Physicians call hypertension the silent killer. Due to the lack of hypertension symptoms, often organ damage is the first indication of high blood pressure. This can take the form of kidney disease, stroke or changes in the retina of the eyes. Heart problems are very common with hypertension because the high blood pressure forces the heart to work harder than it should.