Hypertension or high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for heart disease, stroke,and other cardiovascular ailments. The prevalence of hypertension globally has increased immensely over the years and is now considered as the most common of all the morbidities relating to the circulatory system. Around 6 million Australian aged 18 years old and above are classified as hypertensive while close to 4 million of the 6 million hypertensive Australians have unmanaged and uncontrolled high blood pressure. The 2017 American College of Cardiology/ American Heart Association classifies hypertension as Blood Pressure more than 120/80. Untreated and undiagnosed hypertension may lead to fatal outcomes secondary to cardiovascular and renal complications of hypertension.
Hypertension is classified into two types; the first is primary hypertension which nmeans that the hypertension is not associated with another medical condition. The other type is secondary hypertension wherein other medical diseases of the heart, arteries, heart,and endocrine system may cause the blood pressure to rise. Leading causes are summarized below:
Although it is still medically elusive to pinpoint the leading causes of primary hypertension, several risk factors are associated with elevated blood pressure
Several diseases may elevate blood pressure that leads to hypertension. In most cases, it can coincide with risk factors related to primary hypertension hindering the efforts to control adequate blood pressure readings
Most of the hypertensive patients do not even know they already have elevated blood pressure since high blood pressure can only be detected through sphygmomanometer, a blood pressuremeasuring apparatus. In some extreme hypertensive cases, the patient may complain of headaches, the difficulty of breathing and nose bleed.
The primary diagnostic tool to detect hypertension is a blood pressure measurement device called sphygmomanometer. A nurse or a physician putsan inflatable armcuff in your arm to measure the blood pressure using an analog or digital pressure-measuring gauge. Blood pressure readings are expressed in millimeters mercury and fraction. The upper number represents systolic blood pressure that measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart pumps. The lower figure shows the strength in arteries in between beats and is known as diastolic pressure. Blood pressure is categorized into four classifications:
While blood pressure measurement is essential, it is not always accurate; some patients might have “white coat hypertension,” an elevation of normal blood pressure during a visit to health practitioners or doctors. Medical staff usually takes sequential blood pressure readings before they decide to establish hypertension as the diagnosis.
The most accurate measurement of blood pressure can be done outside the medical clinic using a 24-hour BP reading. However, it is only advisable to use if atypical symptoms of hypertension are suspected.
Further laboratory tests are typically ordered such as :
Lifestyle modification, in general, is the main recommendation of physicians to lower blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. These measures are not considered a substitute, but it aims to compliment possible drug therapy . Practical steps to lower blood pressure are :
Drug therapy may be prescribed by the physician and might usually start with a single drug of any of the following:
If your BP does not improve with a single drug, it may be combined with other antihypertensive drugs.
Treatment of secondary hypertension may not improve with antihypertensive drugs;thus attention is drawn on the primary cause of secondary hypertension. It will be addressed first, and the management of hypertension is often achieved after treating primary reasons.