What Are the Basics of Hypertension?

What is hypertension?

Hypertension (HTN or HT), also known as high blood pressure (HBP) or arterial hypertension, is a kind of long-term medical condition in which blood pressure in the arteries is continuously elevated.

Hypertension is classified as either primary (essential) hypertension or secondary hypertension. And over 90% of the cases are primary hypertension.

There is no clear symptom for hypertension. But long term of hypertension may cause other diseases such as stroke, heart disease, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease, dementia and vision loss.


What are the possible signs or symptoms of hypertension?

Usually, there are no symptoms in the early stage of hypertension. But some people with may experience such symptoms:

  • A little swelling in legs or ankles
  • Chest pain occasionally
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting or syncope
  • Easy to be fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • A little pain in the right side of the abdomen
  • Headaches (particularly at the back of the head)
  • Buzzing or hissing in the ears
  • Altered vision

What are the causes of hypertension?

Hypertension is classified into two categories: primary (essential) hypertension and secondary hypertension. The causes of the two categories are different.

There are no identifiable causes for primary (essential) hypertension, it develops gradually over several years and no obvious symptoms.

The causes of secondary hypertension include:

  • Some medications, such as decongestants, birth control pills, cold remedies, over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Some illegal drugs, such as amphetamines and cocaine.
  • Your kidney or thyroid problems.
  • Congenital hypertension.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea.

Besides, aging, obesity, alcohol abuse, lack of exercise, too much stress and eating too much salt may also cause hypertension.

How to diagnose hypertension?

Your doctor will use a blood pressure monitor to measure your blood pressure, or you can measure it at home.

There are two numbers of a blood pressure reading which given in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The first, or upper, number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats, which called systolic pressure. The second, or lower, number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats, which known as diastolic pressure.

Systolic pressure and its corresponding meaning:

  • Below 120: Normal blood pressure.
  • 120-129: Elevated blood pressure.
  • 130-139: High blood pressure, which is also called hypertension.
  • 140-180: Stage 2 hypertension (more severe hypertension).
  • Over 180: A real crisis. Call your doctor.

Diastolic pressure and its corresponding meaning:

  • 80-90: Stage 1 hypertension.
  • 90-120: Stage 2 hypertension (more severe hypertension).
  • Over 120: A crisis. Call you doctor immediately.

What are the treatments for hypertension?

Treatments for hypertension can be divided into medical treatments and home-treatments.

Taking medicines such as

  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Central Agonists
  • Peripheral Adrenergic Blockers
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
  • Beta-Blockers

Home-treatments include

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet with less salt.
  • Limit alcohol drinking.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Try to lose weight if you’re overweight.
  • Avoid using illegal drugs.
  • Do mild exercise including swimming, walking, jumping rope and outdoors bicycling.


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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.