Hypertension or HT, also called High Blood Pressure, is a condition in which the blood pressure in either arteries or veins is abnormally high. Hypertension is one the major causes of death and disability in the world. Hypertension is known as "Silent Killer" because it may be present for years with no perceptible symptoms.

All about Hypertension - Causes and Symptoms of Hypertension

High blood pressure is not only a serious condition by itself, but it is also the leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. Severe and immediately life-threatening hypertension is called Malignant hypertension and usually requires hospitalization and acute medical care.

The measurement of blood pressure is written as two numbers. The normal blood pressure reading is systolic 120 over diastolic 80 represented as 120/80 mm of Hg. Blood pressure above this range is considered to be high and should be viewed seriously. The best way to prevent hypertension is to undergo regular blood pressure checks and take treatments in case the pressure level is high.

What causes hypertension or high blood pressure?

Hypertension can be classified as essential hypertension and secondary hypertension.

Essential hypertension or idiopathic hypertension is the most common form of hypertension, which occurs in almost 90 percent of cases. The causes of essential hyper tension is unknown, however, medical studies and research have identified some factors which cause hypertension. Some of these factors are unhealthy dietary habits, tension, stress, insufficient rest, smoking, excessive consumption of liquors, obesity, metabolic disorders, excessive consumption of tea and coffee etc...

Secondary hypertension is the result of a specific disease, disorder, or other condition. A hypertension within the renal arteries causes renal hypertension and it affects the entire circulatory system.

Another cause of secondary hypertension is Cushing's syndrome or aldosteronism, a metabolic disorder caused by overproduction of corticosteroid hormones by the adrenal cortex and often resulting in obesity and high blood pressure.

Other causes of secondary hypertension are excess hormone secretion resulting from pheochromocytoma, excess secretion of hormones by pituitary tumors, coarctation (congenital narrowing of a short section of the aorta), pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives etc. Treating the underlying condition or cause relieves secondary hypertension.

In general the major causes of hypertension are the following:

  • Hectic and stress filled life style
  • Unhealthy food habits
  • Obesity
  • Excessive consumption of liquors
  • Smoking
  • Over consumption of tea/coffee
  • Insufficient rest and sleep
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • Excessive use of pain killers and other strong medicines
  • Genetic disorders
  • Over consumption of oily food and fast food
  • High salt intake
  • Emotional and Physical stress
  • Family history of hypertension

Symptoms of Hypertension

As mentioned earlier, hypertension is not a disease, but it is a symptom in itself. In most cases, hypertension produces no symptoms until dangerous complications occur.

However there are some known symptoms of hypertension, which a person with hypertension may experience now and then.

  • Headaches - Headaches may be experienced due to elevation in blood pressure. Sometimes morning headaches can also be due to hypertension.
  • Dizziness - Dizziness is often experience by people with high blood pressure. However dizziness cannot always be treated as a symptom of hypertension. If dizziness is experienced it is always wise to consult a medical practitioner.
  • Heart pain
  • Palpitations
  • Nosebleeds - Nosebleeds without particular reason might be a symptom of high blood pressure. It is better to check the blood pressure in such cases.
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears)
  • Blurred Vision
  • Frequent urination