The Causes, Types And Symptoms Of Hypertension

By Alley Benton
Updated December 12, 2016
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The Causes, Types And Symptoms Of HypertensionHypertension, or high blood pressure (HBP), is a common affliction in which the blood pushes against the walls of the arteries with too much force that it can lead to health problems, including stroke and heart disease. To determine your blood pressure, a device measures how much blood is pumped by your heart, as well as how much your arteries resist this flow. So what are the causes of hypertension?

Understanding High Blood Pressure:

One of the big problems with hypertension is that it is often asymptomatic until the damage is done. The damage to your arteries and heart, however, is detectable, but unless you show symptoms, there is no reason to believe you may have hypertension. Of course, this doesn't all happen overnight. It is a slowly developing condition, and almost everybody will have it the older they get. If you catch it early enough, which is easily done, it can also be controlled.

Two types of high blood pressure exist:

1. Primary hypertension. Unfortunately, the causes of hypertension in this case are pretty much unknown. It slowly develops, with your blood pressure creeping up as time goes on.

2. Secondary hypertension, in which case the causes of hypertension are linked to underlying medical conditions. This often appears very suddenly and is caused by things such as kidney problems, sleep apnea, thyroid problems, tumors on the adrenal gland, congenital blood vessel defects, medications, illegal drugs, and alcohol abuse.

Symptoms of Hypertension:

HBP is generally completely asymptomatic. Sometimes, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, and headaches do occur, but these are not specific. Furthermore, they can only be directly linked to HBP once it reaches life-threatening levels.

Because hypertension is known as a silent killer, measuring it is now part of routine doctor's appointments. Once you turn 18, you should have it checked at least every other year. Once you're over 40, or if you are younger but you know you are at high risk, you should have one every year. A full HBP test will measure your blood pressure in both arms. This will help a physician see if there is a difference between the two. You do have to make sure that the arm cuff used is the right size. If there is an issue, it is likely that your physician will recommend you take your own blood pressure more regularly, particularly if you have other cardiovascular disease risk factors.

If you do not have regular checkups with your doctor, you should be able to go to a health resource, such as a pharmacy, and have it checked there. Community centers also regularly have clinics. Alternatively, you can use blood pressure machines that are available in various locations, or you can purchase one yourself. Pharmacies, for instance, often have public blood pressure machines available. While these are good, you do have to remember that they are not 100% accurate. One reason for this is because they use generic cuffs, rather than one that is right for your specific arm. If that reading is high, or close to high, you should make an appointment with your physician.

* Disclaimer:
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.