High Blood Pressure

Hypertension or high blood pressure is defined as “the level of blood pressure at which the benefits of the treatment outweigh the costs and hazards”. Blood pressure tends to rise with age and high average blood pressure is associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular disorders at all ages, even when blood pressure falls within the “normal range”.

The cause of hypertension is not known in 95% of the cases. Such hypertension is known as essential hypertension. Secondary hypertension has a known cause which may be alcohol intake, obesity, pregnancy, or renal diseases. Some endocrine disorders such as Cushing’s syndrome and thyrotoxicosis are also associated with high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is managed by a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. Patients are advised to exercise more, reduce salt intake, quit smoking, and reduce alcohol intake. Some commonly prescribed medications for hypertension include diuretics (that flush salt and water from the body), ACE inhibitors (that promote dilation of blood vessels), and calcium channel blockers.

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