Hypertension


What is hypertension?

Hypertension refers to high blood pressure particularly when blood pressure is higher than 140/90 mmHg. Hypertension can damage arteries leading to a heart attack or stroke. It can also cause other forms of heart disease.


What causes hypertension?

High blood pressure occurs commonly with age as the walls of the arteries become less elastic. Diets high in sodium also cause hypertension. High blood pressure is common among African Americans and often develops at an earlier age than it does in Caucasians. Other causes include obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking, excessive alcohol, diabetes, kidney disease and sleep apnea.


What are common symptoms for hypertension?

Most people with hypertension show no signs or symptoms until it has reached a severe stage. Some people may experience: dull headaches, dizzy spells, nosebleeds, and chest pain. Hypertension can lead to a stroke or heart attack.


What are options for treating hypertension?

The first option is decreasing the amount of salt in one’s diet and exercise. If those fail, a physician might consider medications.