skip to Main Content

Blood pressure is the force that circulating blood exerts on the wall of your blood vessel. It is made of two numbers, the systolic and diastolic blood pressures. The difference between systolic and diastolic is due to extra force that is applied when your heart beats (systolic) compared to when your heart relaxes between beats (diastolic).

Hypertension (or high blood pressure) occurs when the blood pressure exceeds normal levels for an extended period of time. It is defined as a systolic blood pressure over 140mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure over 90mmHg. Hypertension is categorized as either primary (essential) hypertension or secondary hypertension.

Essential hypertension is high blood pressure without an unidentifiable cause, though it often has a significant genetic component. It is the most common form of hypertension, making up approximately 90-95% of all cases. Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure with an identifiable cause, which includes excess hormone levels, limited blood flow to the kidneys, certain medications, and sleep disorders.

Untreated hypertension can lead to multiple medical problems. A few key complications are listed below:

  • Heart Disease
    • Coronary Artery Disease
    • Heart Failure
    • Arrhythmias (Irregular Heart Rhythms)
  • Neurologic Disease
    • Stroke
    • Dementia
  • Kidney Disease
  • Vision Loss
  • Vascular Disease

Symptoms of Hypertension

High blood pressure usually doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms, which is why it is very important to undergo regular health screenings and annual checkups. Some of the less common symptoms that can be seen include:

  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness/dizziness/fainting episodes
  • Double vision
  • Abnormal ear sounds (ringing/buzzing)

Lifestyle Factors

Regardless of the cause, our lifestyle choices play a big role in increasing the risk of developing hypertension and can lead to worsening blood pressure even while on medications. Some of these lifestyle choices include:

  • High salt (sodium) diet
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol use
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High fat diet/Obesity
  • Excessive caffeine consumption

Treatments for Hypertension

If not properly treated, high blood pressure can lead to the medical conditions listed above. However, there are numerous treatment options for hypertension, including:

  • Lifestyle Changes
    • Adopting a healthy diet (low in sodium and fat; high in fruits and vegetables)
    • Increasing physical activity (at least 30 minutes per day)
    • Reducing stress
    • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Anti-hypertensive Medications
  • Targeted therapies for secondary hypertension (depending on the cause)

At The Kidney and Hypertension Center, we are experts in managing hypertension and limiting the long-term outcomes of this disease. Schedule your appointment today!

Back To Top