Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a medical condition characterized by elevated and persistent pressure in the arteries. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps it.

Blood pressure is typically measured with two values:

  • Systolic Pressure: This is the higher of the two values and represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts and pumps blood.
  • Diastolic Pressure: This is the lower value and indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting between beats.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is expressed as a ratio of the systolic pressure over the diastolic pressure (e.g., 120/80 mmHg).

Hypertension is categorized as follows:

  • Normal: Systolic < 120 mmHg and Diastolic < 80 mmHg
  • Elevated: Systolic 120-129 mmHg and Diastolic < 80 mmHg
  • Hypertension Stage 1: Systolic 130-139 mmHg or Diastolic 80-89 mmHg
  • Hypertension Stage 2: Systolic ≥ 140 mmHg or Diastolic ≥ 90 mmHg
  • Hypertensive Crisis: Systolic > 180 mmHg and/or Diastolic > 120 mmHg

Causes and Risk Factors of Hypertension:

  • Primary Hypertension: This is the most common type of hypertension and develops gradually over time. It often has no identifiable cause but can be influenced by genetics, age, and lifestyle factors.
  • Secondary Hypertension: This type is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as kidney disease, hormonal disorders, or certain medications.

Risk Factors Include:

  • Age
  • Family history of hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High salt intake
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Certain chronic conditions (diabetes, kidney disease, etc.)

Complications of Hypertension: Uncontrolled hypertension can damage blood vessels and organs, leading to serious health issues, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney damage
  • Vision problems
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Cognitive decline

Treatment and Management: Treatment aims to lower blood pressure to a healthier range and includes lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, stress management) and medication when necessary.

Regular blood pressure monitoring and timely medical intervention are important to prevent complications associated with hypertension. It’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis, treatment, and management if you suspect you have high blood pressure or any related symptoms.

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