Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry, SC
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Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry, SC

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High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is another word for high blood pressure. When a doctor tests your blood pressure, he or she is looking for two things. He or she is monitoring how much blood your heart is pumping, and how much resistance that blood is facing within your arteries.

The more blood your heart has to pump, and the narrower your arteries are, the higher your blood pressure will be. A normal blood pressure measurement is 120 over 80. Anything at or above 140 over 90 indicates the onset of hypertension.

Symptoms of Hypertension

Blood tests are recommended at least every other year for patients age 18 and over. The reason for this is that having high blood pressure usually doesn't lead to any noticeable symptoms.

When symptoms do finally become apparent, it usually means that the condition has reached a potentially life threatening level. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact a health care professional immediately:

  • Severe headaches
  • Mental confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent nosebleeds

The other type is called secondary hypertension. This condition appears suddenly and is usually more severe than primary hypertension. It is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as:

  • Kidney problems
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Congenital defects in the blood vessels
  • Menopause

Here is a list of other factors that may contribute to high blood pressure:

  • Age
  • Family medical history
  • Being overweight
  • Not exercising
  • Using tobacco
  • Excess of sodium
  • Deficiency of potassium
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Stress
  • Chronic health issues such as high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease, or sleep apnea.
  • Pregnancy

Risks of Hypertension

If left untreated, hypertension can lead to a number of severe health issues. Some of these include:

  • Memory problems
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Kidney problems
  • Vision loss
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Heart failure