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All information on high blood pressure (hypertension) blood pressure measuring blood pressure causes of high blood pressure high blood pressure level white coat syndrome symptoms of high blood pressure diagnosis of high blood pressure isolated systolic hypertension causes of isolated systolic hypertension white coat hypertension borderline hypertension malignant hypertension labile hypertension pulmonary hypertension renovascular hypertension high blood pressure risk factors complications of high blood pressure body weight and hypertension treatment options for high blood pressure high blood pressure medications lifestyle for hypertension high blood pressure diet

What're the complications of high blood pressure?

Over time, high blood pressure can cause problems in other parts of the body because of the damage to the blood vessels.

Blood vessels can narrow due to high blood pressure and the accumulation of cholesterol. Blockage of arteries in the brain can lead to stroke. About two-thirds of people who suffer a first stroke have moderate elevated blood pressure (160/95 mm Hg or above). Hypertensive people have up to ten times the normal risk of stroke, depending on the severity of the blood pressure. Hypertension is also an important cause of so-called silent cerebral infarcts, which are blockages in the blood vessels in the brain that may predict major stroke or progression to dementia over time.

Blockage of blood vessels in the kidneys can lead to kidney failure. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure can result in narrowing of the arteries supplying the kidneys. High blood pressure also damages the kidneys directly and may lead to kidney failure. Kidney damage, in turn, raises blood pressure even more. High blood pressure causes 30% of all cases of end-stage kidney disease (medically referred to as end-stage renal disease or ESRD). Only diabetes leads to more cases of kidney failure. In fact, although antihypertensive therapy has reduced the incidence of stroke and heart attack, the incidence in ESRD has almost doubled in the last decade.

High blood pressure is the major risk factor for heart disease. High blood pressure puts extra wear and tear on the heart, and can lead to heart failure. Hypertension precedes congestive heart failure in between 75% and 90% of heart failure cases. To compensate for increased blood pressure, the heart must work harder to pump blood, and so its muscles thicken (called hypertrophy), usually in the left side (called left-ventricle dysfunction). These thickened muscles pump inefficiently, and over time, the force of their contractions weakens. The heart muscles then have difficulty relaxing and filling the heart with blood. The heart begins to fail. The failing heart then triggers a number of hormonal and neurochemical mechanisms to correct imbalances in blood pressure and flow. This response, called remodeling, is helpful in the short run but very destructive and irreversible over time. About half of people who suffer their first heart attack have moderate (160/95 mm Hg) over above hypertension. High blood pressure increases the risk for a heart attack by up to five times, depending on the severity of the hypertension.

Sexual dysfunction is more common and more severe in men with hypertension, and particularly in smokers, than it is in the general population. Many of the drugs used to treat hypertension are thought to cause impotence as a side effect; in these cases, it is reversible when the drugs are stopped. More recent evidence is suggesting, however, that the disease process that causes hypertension itself is the major cause of erectile dysfunction in these men.

Hypertension also increases the elimination of calcium in urine that may lead to loss of bone mineral density, a significant risk factor for fractures, particularly in elderly women. In one study of Englishwomen, those with the highest blood pressure lost bone density at nearly twice the rate of those in the lowest range.

High blood pressure causes the arteries to become hard and inelastic, a condition often referred to as "hardening of the arteries." This condition prevents blood from flowing through the body effectively and can lead to heart attack and stroke.

High blood pressure can injure the eyes, causing a condition called retinopathy. Blockage of blood vessels in the eye can cause impaired vision or even blindness.

High blood pressure can cause the blood vessels to widen. When this occurs in the brain or the aorta, death can result.

More information on high blood pressure

What is blood pressure? - Blood pressure or arterial blood pressure is the pressure (force per unit area) exerted by the blood on the walls of the blood vessels.
What is high blood pressure (hypertension)? - High blood pressure or hypertension means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. High blood pressure is generally defined as a level exceeding 140/90 mm Hg that has been confirmed on multiple occasions.
How to measure blood pressure? - Arterial blood pressure is usually measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) using a sphygmomanometer.
What causes high blood pressure? - High blood pressure is far more common in families where other members have this condition. There are also many other factors which are related to high blood pressure.
At what level is blood pressure too high? - Blood pressure is generally felt to be abnormally high at a level of 140/90, and some sort of definitive therapy and follow-up should be started at this level.
What is "white coat syndrome"? - "White coat syndrome" is a situation where patients have high blood pressure in the doctor's office but nowhere else.
What're the symptoms of high blood pressure? - High blood pressure usually causes no symptoms. Sometimes people with high blood pressure have symptoms including headache, dizziness, blurred vision and nausea.
How is high blood pressure diagnosed? - The diagnosis of high blood pressure is made on the basis of many blood pressure readings. It is diagnosed if several readings show a systolic blood pressure greater than 140 or a diastolic blood pressure greater than 90.
What is isolated systolic hypertension? - Isolated systolic hypertension (ISH) is defined as elevated systolic blood pressure in conjunction with normal diastolic blood pressure (<90 mm Hg).
Why and how isolated systolic hypertension (ISH ) develops? - Factors that may play a role in the high prevalence of ISH seen in Western societies include increased body fat, sedentary lifestyle, and increased sodium intake.
What is white coat hypertension? - White coat hypertension should be considered when blood pressure readings are significantly elevated in the absence of target-organ damage.
What is borderline hypertension? - Borderline hypertension is a blood pressure level which is in the 'gray zone' between normal and high (for example, someone with an average pressure of about 140/90 mmHg).
What is malignant hypertension (arteriolar nephrosclerosis)? - Malignant hypertension is an acute emergency requiring immediate treatment in hospital.
What is labile hypertension? - 'Labile' means variable, and just about everyone with hypertension has 'lablie hypertension.'
What is pulmonary hypertension? - Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the pulmonary circulation (the arteries which go to the lungs). The blood pressure in the arms and the rest of the body is normal or low.
What is renovascular hypertension? - Renovascular hypertension is a secondary form of high blood pressure caused by a narrowing of the renal artery.
What're the risk factors for high blood pressure? - Controllable factors contribute to high blood pressure include sodium (salt) sensitivity, obesity and overweight, heavy alcohol consumption, use of oral contraceptives and some other medications, and sedentary or inactive lifestyle.
What're the complications of high blood pressure? - Blood vessels can narrow due to high blood pressure and the accumulation of cholesterol. Blockage of arteries in the brain can lead to stroke. Blockage of blood vessels in the kidneys can lead to kidney failure.
How does body weight affect hypertension? - Studies have shown that body weight, changes in body weight over time, and skinfold thickness are related to changes in blood pressure levels.
What're the treatment options for high blood pressure? - The goal of treatment is to reduce blood pressure to a level where there is decreased risk of complications. Treatment may occur at home with close supervision by the health care provider, or may occur in the hospital.
What medications are available for high blood pressure? - Medications may include diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or alpha blockers.
Which lifestyle modifications are beneficial in treating hypertension? - Lifestyle modifications refer to certain specific recommendations for changes in diet and exercise.
What is a good high blood pressure diet? - A good high blood pressure diet is not only rich in important nutrients and fiber but also includes foods that contain far more electrolytes, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, than are found in the average American diet.
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Hypertension herbal remedy
High-Rite supports the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system, thereby helping to maintain balanced pressure of the blood on veins and arteries, routine oxygenation of the blood to the heart muscle and pulse regulation.

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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005