What is hypertension?
What is hypertension?
- Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is when the pressure of the blood being pumped through your arteries is higher than it should be.
Your circulatory system, blood pressure, and what can go wrong
- cardiac output - the amount of blood pumped by each ventricle in one minute; and
- peripheral resistance - the resistance that the heart has to overcome to make the blood flow through the blood vessels of your circulatory system.
Does hypertension have symptoms?
- most people with hypertension don’t have any signs or symptoms, even when their blood pressure is extremely high.
What are the risk factors for hypertension?
- Genetics - having family members with hypertension increases the likelihood that you will too.
- Race - high blood pressure is more common in people with dark skin than in people with pale skin.
- Age - your blood vessels become more rigid as you age, preventing them from opening as effectively as when you were younger, which increases peripheral resistance.
How likely are you to become hypertensive?
Steps you can take to lower your blood pressure
How do you diagnose and treat hypertension?
- Normal blood pressure - below 120 / 80 mm Hg.
- Prehypertension - 120-139 / 80-89 mm Hg.
- Stage 1 hypertension - 140-159 / 90-99 mm Hg.
- Stage 2 hypertension - 160 / 100 mm Hg or higher.
- Diuretics - these promote the production of urine, which removes excess fluid from the bloodstream. This reduces the volume of blood in your circulatory system, and your blood pressure.
- Beta-blockers - these make your heart beat slower and with less force, and your blood vessels open up. This reduces blood pressure, and improves blood flow.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, (ACE inhibitors) - these block the action of a hormone that causes your blood vessels to constrict and that thickens and stiffens the walls of your blood vessels and heart, as well as triggering the release of another hormone that increases the amount of sodium and water in your body. Together, this has the effect of lowering blood pressure.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers - these affect similar biochemical pathways as ACE inhibitors, for similar effects.
- Alpha blockers - these block the action of hormones that trigger vasoconstriction of the smaller arteries and veins, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
- Calcium channel blockers - these relax and widen blood vessels by preventing calcium from entering heart cells and the muscle cells within the blood vessel walls. This slows your heart rate and vasodilates your arteries, resulting in lower blood pressure.