from MedisoftIndia

About High Blood Pressure

Causes of high blood pressure:

In most adults who get high blood pressure (Hypertension) the cause is usually unknown though there is a hereditary tendency. When younger people  develop high blood pressure, there is a higher chance that this is because of an underlying  cause. These causes  need to be looked for by various tests as correction of the underlying problem can normalize blood pressure. For example various conditions involving the kidney, such as stones, or other kidney diseases such as nephritis, vascular diseases of kidney etc. can cause high blood pressure. Kidney disease is the main cause of hypertension in the younger patient. High blood pressure can also be due to excessive production of certain types of  hormones ( produced by  an organ called the suprarenal gland situated just above the kidneys), as seen in tumors such as pheochromocytoma or a condition called Cushing's syndrome. Pregnancy can sometimes be associated with high blood pressure. Narrowing of certain arteries from the heart -a condition called coarctation of aorta- can cause hypertension. Often there may not be any cause.

Reasons for treating high blood pressure:

High blood pressure needs to be treated because mortality (death rate) is high with persistently high blood pressure. This high mortality rate  is reduced drastically when the blood pressure is controlled and brought to normal. Very high blood pressure usually gives rise to paralysis or hemiplegia (stroke). A reduction of blood pressure by just 10 mm  would reduce the incidence of a stroke by as much as 40%. High blood pressure can also lead to angina (chest pain) and heart attacks. Even a moderate rise increases the incidence of heart problems. High blood pressure in pregnancy is associated with poorer outcomes for baby and mother.

Measurement of high blood pressure:

One has to measure the blood pressure using a blood pressure measuring instrument known as a manometer. A lot of people think that if they have no symptoms at all, their pressure is normal. They could be wrong. Only a meter will show the correct blood pressure. It may be too late by the time symptoms develop. Hence regular blood pressure measurement -at least every month or more often-when high , and yearly if normal is advisable.

Normal BP and high BP:

Usually every time the blood pressure is taken, two components are measured. The lower reading is called the diastolic pressure and and the higher one, the systolic pressure.  Normally, diastolic blood pressure should be less than 90 and systolic blood pressure less than 140.For diabetics, diastolic should be less than 85 and systolic less than 130.  If the blood pressure is borderline, then it should be checked every week for 6 weeks.

Tests to be done for high blood pressure:

Tests are done mainly to
i) find out the cause of hypertension when it is first detected.
ii) know how long the patient has been suffering from it.
iii) know whether one has developed any complications.
iv) select the best drug to be used. 

Usual tests include