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Severe or malignant high blood pressure can cause lightheadedness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and vision problems. Malignant high blood pressure, which is a hypertensive crisis, is rapidly rising high blood pressure where the diastolic pressure often surpasses 140 mm Hg. Get medical services immediately if your diastolic pressure exceeds
Introduction
 
Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a very common condition in America. It is often called “a silent killer” because it causes serious cardiovascular and organ damage, often without any symptoms. Testing is the only way to know if you have high blood pressure. It can be controlled with medications and lifestyle changes, while uncontrolled high blood pressure may cause life-threatening conditions.
 
Anatomy 
 
Your heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout your body. Blood pressure measure how hard your heart is working to force the flow of blood. Blood pressure measurements show your diastolic and systolic pressure.
 
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. Your diastolic blood pressure is number beneath your systolic blood pressure. 
 
Causes
 
In one out of ten people, high blood pressure is the result of another underlying medical condition. This is referred to as secondary hypertension. Conditions that may result in high blood pressure include adrenal gland tumors, pregnancy, kidney disease, alcohol use, birth control pills, thyroid dysfunction, and coarctation of the aorta. Blood pressure will return to normal in most cases with the treatment of the cause of secondary hypertension.
 
In approximately 90 percent of people, high blood pressure has an unknown cause. This is called primary hypertension, which has many associated risk factors.
 
Symptoms
 
High blood pressure is often called “a silent killer” because many people do not exhibit symptoms while suffering progressive damage to the blood vessels, heart, and other organs. Some people have high blood pressure for years without knowing they have it. Having your blood pressure checked is the only way to know for certain.
 
Severe or malignant high blood pressure can cause lightheadedness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and vision problems. Malignant high blood pressure, which is a hypertensive crisis, is rapidly rising high blood pressure where the diastolic pressure often surpasses 140 mm Hg. Get medical services immediately if your diastolic pressure exceeds 100 mm Hg. Call an ambulance immediately if you suspect that you are experiencing a stroke or heart attack, the symptoms of which include dizziness, blurred vision, loss of vision, fainting, severe headache, shortness of breath at rest, chest pain, and weakness.
 
Diagnosis
 
Measuring your blood pressure with a cuff is the only way to pinpoint if you have high blood pressure. Checking blood pressure is an easy, painless procedure. A doctor will place a blood pressure cuff around your arm and inflate it. A technician will listen to your pulse as the cuff deflates. Blood pressure levels are classified as prehypertension, normal, or high.
 

Classification

Systolic (Top Number) 

Diastolic (Bottom Number)

Normal

Less than 120

 Less than 80

Prehypertension

120-130

80-89

High Blood Pressure- Stage 1

140-159

90-99

High Blood Pressure- Stage 2

160 or Higher

100 or Higher

 
If the results show that you have high blood pressure, you may need tests to check for organ damage. Tests include urine and blood tests, eye exam, and imaging tests. Other tests may be used to locate blood vessel or heart damage.
 
Treatment
 
The main goal of treatment is to maintain blood pressure levels below 140/90 mm Hg. For people with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or prior heart attack or stroke, doctors will recommend a lower goal of 125-130/80 mm Hg. Your doctor will advise you on a specific goal. In cases of secondary hypertension, treatment of the source condition will usually restore blood pressure to normal levels. Treatment for high blood pressure is usually comprises medications, lifestyle changes, or both.
 
Lifestyle changes like exercise, weight loss, and dietary improvements can help lower your blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy weight is key, and even small amounts of weight loss are beneficial. Keep a diet low in calories, cholesterol, salt, and fat while high in fiber. Eliminate table salt. Refer to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet as a helpful guide for meal planning. Quit smoking and avoid consuming alcohol. 
 
Along with lifestyle changes, medications can help treat high blood pressure. There are a variety of prescription medications. Over time, your medication and dosage may need changing.
 
Take your medications exactly as directed, even if you believe that you are better. Attend all of your scheduled doctor’s appointments.
 
High blood pressure is relatively easy to control. Unless major lifestyle changes successfully lower your blood pressure, you will likely need medication for the rest of your life. High blood pressure must be controlled, or it will lead to life-threatening complications.
 
Prevention
 
Help control and prevent high blood pressure by reversing the controllable risk factors of high blood pressure. Lose excess weight, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, quit smoking, avoid illegal drugs and alcohol, and maintain a healthy diet that is low in fat, cholesterol, calories, and salt while high in fiber.
 
Take all of your medications as directed, even if you feel that you’re fine. Monitor your blood pressure regularly. Attend all of your scheduled appointments.
 
Am I At Risk
 
High blood pressure is a very common problem among Americans. Risk factors for high blood pressure include aging, being overweight, excess salt intake, prehypertension, family history of high blood pressure, excess alcohol consumption, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, prolonged axiety or stress, illegal drugs, birth control pills, pain, certain medications, pregnancy, and low potassium or calcium intake.
 
Complications
 
The foremost risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. Additionally, high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for kidney failure, heart failure, heart attack, enlarged heart, aortic aneurysms, blindness, atherosclerosis, and peripheral artery disease. Combined with smoking, obesity, diabetes, or high cholesterol, high blood pressure greatly increases the risk for stroke or heart attack.
 
Advancements
 
There are several types of blood pressure monitors available today that you can use in the comfort of your own home. Some allow you to take your own blood pressure. Aside from the prominent arm cuff style, wrist monitors and finger monitors are also available. Some monitors store and print out your results. Furthermore, there are several home health services that send your results straight to your doctor for regular observation.