The Basics of Hypertension

The Basics of Hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a very common long-term condition that is characterized by a strong force against the artery walls as the blood runs through them. This can be considered a risky condition because one can have hypertension for several years and never know due to the lack of symptoms. Most of the time, the symptoms will only surface later in life.

Blood pressure characterized by your heart beating, pumping blood is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest between beats, the pressure is called diastolic pressure.

Reading from a blood pressure (BP) apparatus

For some who have not been oriented about it, it may be difficult to interpret the numbers that flash in an electronic BP apparatus. It is fairly simple: the systolic number comes before the diastolic number. Normal blood pressure is pegged at 119/79 or lower. High blood pressure would result in a reading of 140/90.

Prehypertension, which means that you may have hypertension unless steps are taken to prevent it, is pegged between 120 and 139 for the systolic number and between 80 and 89 for the diastolic number.

Health problems caused by hypertension

Hypertension can cause a lot of known heart diseases, most commonly heart failure and heart attack. It can also cause stroke and kidney failure. However, the condition affects a very wide range of body parts and may cause even more illnesses and conditions than the ones mentioned.

Types of hypertension

There are two types of high blood pressure: primary and secondary. Primary hypertension has no identifiable cause and may develop slowly over the years. Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, is high blood pressure caused by an underlying condition and sometimes medication. This type of hypertension tends to appear suddenly. The following have been known to cause secondary hypertension:

• Kidney problems
Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
• Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines
• Thyroid problems
• Alcohol abuse or chronic alcohol use
• Obstructive sleep apnea
• Adrenal gland tumors

Risk factors

A common risk factor of hypertension is family history. If your parent or grandparent has or had hypertension, it is very likely for you to develop the condition over time as well. However, there are other risk factors of hypertension, including:

• Age
• Obesity
• Lack of physical activity
• Smoking or chewing tobacco
• Too much salt (sodium) consumption
• Too little potassium consumption
• Too much alcohol
• Stress
• Chronic conditions like diabetes

Hypertension is considered a risky condition because of the difficulty in detection, but it is very manageable as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle. You may even subscribe to the DASH, or Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension diet.

The DASH diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat products. It limits any food items that may contribute to the hypertension and encourages consumption of whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, fish, poultry, and vegetable oils.

Home Care Services offered in Intrinsic Home Care, Inc. include treatment and management of hypertension as part of the Companion Care in Illinois. We also offer services in Indiana.

For questions about this particular service, you may call us at 219-961-2560 (Indiana) or 312-967-3177 (Illinois). You may also e-mail us at and visit our website at



Blogs, content and other media uploaded online are for informational purposes only. Contents on this website should not be considered medical advice. Readers are strongly encouraged to visit their physician for health-related issues.

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