Hypertension, Cardiac Problem

OVERVIEW

Hypertension, Cardiac Problem

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition in which the blood exerts a high amount of force or pressure on the walls of the artery. It is a very common health problem and affects millions of people all over the world. It can lead to serious complications and heart diseases which may have fatal consequences.

Blood pressure is determined by two factors: the amount of blood pumped by the heart, and the resistance offered by arteries. Narrowing of the arteries thus increases blood pressure as higher pressure is required to overcome the resistance.

Symptoms:

Hypertension develops gradually over many years and hence does not cause any obvious symptoms for years or even decades. Symptoms of severe hypertension are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleed
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Presence of blood in urine

However, it must be noted that these symptoms do not manifest until the condition has reached a very advanced stage and hence, it is not wise to wait for symptoms of hypertension.

Causes and risk factors:

Depending on the causes, hypertension is classified into two types:

  • Primary Hypertension: this type of hypertension develops gradually over the years and has no obvious or identifiable causes.
  • Secondary Hypertension: this is caused due to an underlying condition. It appears suddenly and also causes a higher pressure as compared to primary hypertension. Some conditions which can cause secondary hypertension are:
    1. Obstructive sleep apnoea
    2. Thyroid problems
    3. Adrenal gland tumours
    4. Congenital birth defects
    5. Drug abuse

The following risk factors also greatly increase the probability of developing hypertension:

  • Age: the risk of hypertension increases with age
  • People with a family history of blood pressure are also at an increased risk
  • Being overweight or obese also significantly increases the risk
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption also increase the risk

Diagnosis:

Though most doctors regularly check blood pressure readings during checkups, the condition are hardly diagnosed based on a single reading. If your blood pressure is high, the doctor may schedule further checkups over the course of a few days or even weeks. If the levels are high repeatedly, the doctor may perform the following tests to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out other possibilities:

  • Urine test
  • Blood tests including cholesterol monitoring
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Ultrasound of the heart or kidneys

Treatment:

The treatment method adopted primarily depends on the type of hypertension and the cause of it:

  • Primary hypertension: the doctor may ask you to make lifestyle changes to deal with primary hypertension. However, if it alone is not enough, the doctor may prescribe medication.
  • Secondary hypertension: if the hypertension is due to some other cause, the treatment is focused on treating that particular condition. This too may be assisted by lifestyle changes and medications.

Complications:

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to various dangerous complications like:

  • Heart attack or stroke: hypertension can lead to hardening of the arteries which in turn may lead to stroke or heart attack.
  • Heart failure: hypertension can gradually lead to thickening of the pumping chamber of the heart, making it more difficult to pump blood across the body and may lead to heart failure.
  • Hypertension can also cause significant damage to various organs of the body like kidneys, eyes, etc. and can prevent these organs from functioning normally.
  • Hypertension can also cause a metabolic problem which indirectly leads to conditions like diabetes etc.
  • High blood pressure can also lead to vascular dementia.
  • In pregnant women, hypertension can have various complications. It can cause decreased blood flow to the placenta leading to slow growth of the baby, low birth weight, and even premature birth.

Motherhood is one of the leading women’s and children hospitals in the country. At Motherhood, we are dedicated to providing you with holistic treatment and care for various ailments and problems. Our experts are highly qualified and have many years of experience in the field and we also possess state-of-the-art facilities to provide you with global standards of treatment.

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