What is Hypertension?

 Hypertension is defined as a persistently high blood pressure in an otherwise healthy individual, who is not on any medication for high blood pressure

Blood pressure greater than 140/90, on a regular individual,   or 130/80  in a diabetic or someone with chronic kidney disease.

What is High Blood Pressure?

An individual is considered to have elevated or raised blood pressure after at  least three elevated BP readings, measured at few weeks intervals on a previously healthy person.      

Usually, the above definition is used for new or acute hypertension. It must be noted, there are situations, in which treatment has to be started immediately, and not waiting for few weeks intervals...

New onset hypertension must be treated in any situation in which, there is evidence of organ damage and/or  the beginning of it...

The organs generally affected are the eyes, kidneys, heart etc.

New or acute hypertension has to be treated by a qualified health care provider, when it is symptomatic  i.e. when the individual is exhibiting the symptoms of the disease like dizziness, ringing in the ears, blurred vision etc.

 Only a qualified physician or health care provider can determine whether there is  a target organ damage, through various tests and examinations.

Sometimes people ask....

What is the difference between high blood pressure and hypertension and....        
Is hypertension... high blood pressure ?

         Answer    ::

Hypertension is usually a medical diagnosis... that only a qualified physician  can make / determine

Anyone diagnosed with hypertension is said to be "hypertensive"

High blood pressure (HBP)  and hypertension (HTN)  are used interchangeably but NOT  all HBP  is HTN... for instance your BP may be very high:

  • when you are  in labor (about to deliver a baby)
  • when you have just suffered a major injury like broken hip
  • or you have a kidney stone...
  • or having a massive heart attack... (myocardial infarction)

Before anyone is labelled as being hypertensive, several steps has to be followed, as it is laid out in Hypertension Treatment Algorithm.

Hypertension is defined as a medical condition, whereas, one may have HBP temporarily, as a result of a painful catastrophic situation, and possibly when this situation is resolved, the HBP may return to normal blood pressure readings.

Is high blood pressure hereditary?

Yes, it can be.... the primary, essential or benign hypertension of which no known cause has been ascertained is believed to be hereditary in nature.

Classification of Hypertension

High blood pressure... by the numbers....    BP  Guidelines

Prehypertension  :

Prehypertension is the BP range of
               Systolic  120  -  139
               Diastolic  80  -  89

This grouping used here, is according to the Joint National Committee  JNC 7   and JNC 8, in the United States of America, recently released. This prehypertension also applies to anyone over the age of 18 and not on any anti-hypertensives.

Some people refer to Prehypertension as normal high blood pressure or borderline HTN... it is important for you, to know how HTN is grouped in the area where you live.

There is usually no symptoms for prehypertension...if you are pre-hypertensive, your chances of developing hypertension is high...you can follow the simple but powerful lifestyle management  including the DASH diet plan, to avert this problem.

It is an opportunity for you, to reverse, control and prevent the effects of this chronic medical ailment.

Scientists has been able to confirm the damage to vital organ and structures like arteries, heart, blood vessels, kidneys etc  as soon as the blood pressure starts getting out of the normal range, and starts  creeping up.

Stage   1   Hypertension

This is the BP range of
                 Systolic    140  -  159
                 Diastolic    90  -  99

 As long as the BP is accurately measured with a well calibrated / maintained blood pressure monitor.... this is getting serious.

Generally, it is very difficult to convince anyone who has no symptoms, no pains, no discomfort...particularly in most cases, to start treatment... and if they start the treatment, with lifestyle modifications... they are usually not very compliant... I have seen, a lot of this in Emergency department where, I work...

Stage 2 Hypertension

This is BP range of
               Systolic   160    and  greater
               Diastolic  100    and  greater

Anyone in the Stage 2 hypertension is at the higher risks of complications.

Unfortunately, it is at this stage, where most devastating complications arises.. like strokes and hypertensive heart disease, this is the most serious and severe. It is a known fact that, most people diagnosed with hypertension, does not have it under control, this will explain, why it is the major cause of death all over the world

If you have family history of this medical condition, you can incorporate the therapeutic lifestyle changes into your daily activities, to prevent developing this medical ailment.

Life Threatening Stages of Hypertension :

There are two main stages of HTN, in which the situations are very serious and dire, if that person is still alive...!!!

Malignant hypertension
Hypertensive encephalopathy

At this stage, the blood pressure is usually greater, than 180/120 mmHg.... Usually, at this point the person will be in the Intensive Care Unit of hospital where these conditions can be properly managed and monitored.