What Is High Blood Pressure?

What is high bolld pressure? Within a persons life time the blood pressure will vary naturally over time. Learn all about high blood pressure!

Within a person's life time the blood pressure will vary naturally over time. Adults will normally have higher blood pressure than infants and children. During periods of activity a persons blood pressure will be higher than when at rest. During the morning hours of each day a persons blood pressure is naturally higher, with the lowest blood pressure being registered while sleeping at night. High blood pressure which is also called hypertension will usually have no symptoms. With this condition there is an abnormally high pressure in the arteries that can increase a persons chances of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, aneurysm and kidney damage. It is estimated that over 50 million Americans have high blood pressure.

Known as the "silent killer", blood pressure in an adult is classified by two factors. The systolic pressure which is the higher one shows when the heart contracts while diastolic blood pressure is the lower one and occurs when the heart relaxes between beats. When blood pressure is written it is shown with the systolic pressure followed by a slash and then showing the diastolic pressure. When the systolic pressure of an adult who is resting is 140mm Hg better known as millimeters of mercury or more, the person is diagnosed with high blood pressure. If the diastolic pressure of a resting person is 90 Hg or more high blood pressure is also diagnosed. In most cases of high blood pressure both the systolic and diastolic pressures will be elevated. When only the systolic pressure is elevated a person is said to have isolated systolic hypertension. One rare but extremely dangerous type of high blood pressure is known as malignant hypertension but this type is only found in one in every 200 people with high blood pressure.

Although certain symptoms are widely reported with high blood pressure leading people to believe mistakenly that this condition does have symptoms, it does not. Symptoms such as headaches, nose bleeds, tiredness, flushed face and dizziness occur just as readily in people with normal blood pressure as they do in people with high blood pressure. When high blood pressure is severe or has been left untreated for a long period of time such symptoms as fatigue, nausea, headache, vomiting, restlessness, blurred vision and shortness of breath may signal damage to the heart, kidneys, brain or eyes. In some such cases a person may even develope sleepiness or go into a coma but these are caused by swelling in the brain. In this case emergency treatment is necessary. This condition is better known as hypertensive encephalopathy.



Diagnosing high blood pressure is not as simple as taking the blood pressure after a person has rested for five minutes. When a person has a high reading it is necessary to take additional readings on at least two other days to see if the high reading persist. These reading are used to determine the presence of high blood pressure and its severity. Once the diagnosis has been made a doctor must determine the effects of high blood pressure on key organs in the body. An ophthalmoscope will be used to check the retina of the eye, an electrocardiography will detect changes in the heart and the urine will be checked for changes in the kidneys. In every case a person with high blood pressure can get it under control with drug treatment. Untreated it can cause heart attacks, stroke and kidney failure at an early age.

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