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checking for high blood pressureWhat is Hypertension?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common side effect described as an unusually high amount of force exerted on artery walls by blood. The exact cause of high blood pressure is unknown; however, certain persons may have a higher risk for developing high blood pressure. This includes patients who:

  • have a family history of high blood pressure
  • are over 40 years of age
  • have poor diets or eating habits
  • are diabetic or obese
  • are dealing with high levels of stress or anxiety
  • smoke or drink alcohol frequently
  • use street drugs or illegal substances
Patients who are taking corticosteroids (steroids), antidepressants, hormonal supplements, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen), nasal decongestants or medicines for reducing headaches may also develop side effects high blood pressure.

Although hypertension may often go unnoticed, it may produce common symptoms such as:

  • strong and persistent headaches
  • chest pain (angina) and an irregular heart rate
  • difficulty breathing
  • feeling dizzy, drowsy or confused
  • blurry vision or trouble seeing
  • nauseousness
  • urine with blood in it

How is Hypertension Treated?

High blood pressure may be reduced through the use of prescription medicines along with a healthier lifestyle which involves a healthy diet, decreasing consumption of sodium and exercising frequently. Beta-blocker medicines, ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, and peripheral vasodilators may be effective for treating the hypertension.

Patients who suffer from hypertension should have their condition evaluated by their doctor for professional advice. It is important to treat hypertension as soon as the condition is recognized. Untreated high blood pressure may lead to:

  • a heart attack or stroke
  • blood vessel aneurysm (irregular swelling and buildup of blood in a vessel)
  • kidney failure (also known as renal failure)
  • cardiovascular-related death.