Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension is a medical condition where the body’s arteries have consistent elevated blood pressure. Blood is pumped to the body through the arteries every time the heart beats. Blood pressure is actually the force of blood that is pushed up against the walls of blood vessels. In hypertension, the heart has to work harder. Hypertension can lead to heart attack, aneurysm, stroke and even renal failure. According to research at UC Davis, hypertension during middle age may increase the risk of cognitive decline in later years.
Specifically, blood pressure of or greater than 140/90 is indication for hypertension. The first number represents the systolic measurement, and the second number represents the diastolic pressure in the arteries. The normal level for blood pressure is 120/80. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 million adults in the United States suffer from hypertension, and over half do not have their blood pressure under control.
What Causes Hypertension?
Although the exact causes of hypertension are typically unknown, several factors, such as smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, diabetes, aging and even job stress have been identified as causal factors.
According to a published report in the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, a clinical study revealed that job strain is associated with hypertension. In this study, job strain was defined as stressful job demands and minimal decision latitude. The study was cross sectional and entailed a total of 3,200 employed participants who were followed for eight years. Participants ranged in age from 20 to 32. Questionnaires were completed initially and eight years later. Hypertension was defined as a diastolic blood pressure of 95 or higher and a systolic blood pressure of 160 and higher. The results concluded that those with high job demands had higher levels of incident hypertension. In addition, hypertension was more common among the Caucasians in the study.
Symptoms and Treatment of Hypertension
Although 33 percent of people with hypertension do not present with any symptoms, the majority of people have symptoms like headaches, nausea, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, problems with vision, dizziness and breathing difficulties. It may be diagnosed with a device known as a sphygmomanometer. Often medical professionals will examine risk factors and may order additional tests, such as an echocardiogram or electrocardiogram. Blood tests may be needed to measure cholesterol, sugar and electrolyte levels. Drugs such as Tribenzor, Crestor or karvezide may be prescribed in combination or used alone.