Medical Conditions | Uncategorized

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Blood pressure higher than normal. Blood pressure in excess of 130/90 carries an increased health risk and is usually regarded as hypertensive. In about 90 per cent of patients with high blood pressure no cause for the abnormality can be found, and it is then known as ‘essential hypertension’. It is possible that factors such as a salty diet, excess weight and stress are involved, but this has yet to be proved. A clear cause is present in less than 10 per cent of cases, and often that is a disorder of the kidney. Other causes are excess corticosteroid production and abnormalities in the part of the nervous system responsible for regulating the blood pressure. In some women blood pressure rises during pregnancy, causing pre-eclampsia. If high blood pressure persists for a long time it affects arterial walls and is thus an important contributory factor in atherosclerosis. Some organs are highly sensitive to high blood pressure: the brain, the kidneys and the heart, and so long as one of these is not affected the condition causes no problems. The only way to keep track of high blood pressure is regular checking by the family doctor. If a clear cause is found, it should be treated; in many cases the blood pressure then goes down again. Essential hypertension requires long-life treatment with diuretics and betablockers, but not in combination with other medication intended to reduce the blood pressure. It is important to stop smoking, lose weight and use as little salt as possible.

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