Hypertension: Symptoms | Causes | Treatment

Hypertension: Symptoms | Causes | Treatment

Hypertension is a disorder associated with blood vessels and heart. When the pressure exerted by the blood on the walls of blood vessels increases it is termed as hypertension or high blood pressure. The blood pressure is determined by two means: one by the amount of blood heart pump per beat and second by the diameter of blood vessels. 

When the heart pumps more than normal blood per beat and heart vessels are narrower due to some reasons then the blood pressure is high. Hypertension is a major health problem in the developed world. Although it occasionally manifested in an acute aggressive form, high blood pressure is typically asymptomatic for many years. 

This insidious condition has been dubbed as essential hypertension. This is so-called because the gradual age-associated rise in blood pressure was considered essential for normal perfusion of main organs such as the brain.

Why is awareness of hypertension important?

The diagnosis of high blood pressure is very important because without any symptoms there is an increased risk of stroke, coronary heart diseases, cardiac hypertrophy, arteriosclerosis, heart failure, dementia (memory loss), and, renal failure. 

The timely treatment of high blood pressure is necessary and you must seek proper guidance from your doctor about the medication and changes in lifestyle. 

In this article, you can find many things related to the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension.

Mechanism of Essential Hypertension 

Although the specific triggers are unknown, it appears the both altered renal sodium handling and increases vascular resistance contribute to essential hypertension or primary hypertension.

  • Reduces renal sodium excretion in the presence of normal arterial pressure is probably the key factors in increasing the blood pressure. Your body maintains homeostasis by regulating the concentration of water and salts. When the excretion of sodium decreases the fluid volume increases which cause elevation in blood pressure. 
  • Increases vascular resistance result from the changes in the structure of vessel walls. This may be due to the vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels) that can cause permanent thickening of walls.
  • Environmental factors such as stress, obesity, smoking physical activity, and high levels of salt consumption, modify the impact of genetic determinants. 

Evidence linking dietary sodium intake with the prevalence of hypertension in very strong.

Symptoms of hypertension 

hypertension - high blood pressure

Hypertension is mostly without any symptoms as mention earlier, it might take many years for a person to identify that he has hypertension. 

Still, some common symptoms will be helpful in understanding the condition.

  •  Headache 
  •  Chest pain 
  •  Dizziness 
  •  Blushing of skin 
  •  Shortness of breath
  •  Odema 
  •  Blood in urine 
  •  Adrenal gland tumors

Keep in mind that these symptoms are not specific and don’t occurs until hypertension leads to the last stage and becomes life-threatening. 

The best way to find out that you have high blood pressure is to check the blood pressure readings frequently. 

The constant high blood pressure reading and strong family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stokes are the confirming signs of hypertension.

Causes of Hypertension 

Hypertension has two types that are made on the basis of causes. 

  •  Primary hypertension 
  •  Secondary hypertension 

Essential hypertension has another name called primary hypertension. It is the common type of hypertension almost 95% of cases are of this type. 

This type of high blood pressure has no specific cause rather develop by years. Essential hypertension is compatible with long life unless a heart attack, stroke, or other complications supervenes. 

Some factors may influence the gradual increase in blood pressure.

  •  Genetic defects 
  •  Mutation in protein ( that absorbs sodium from the kidney)
  •  Environmental effects 

The type of high blood pressure that develops due to some underlying cause is called secondary hypertension. The prognosis of secondary hypertension depends on the adequate treatment of the underlying cause. 

Here is the list of causes:

Renal causes 

  •  Acute glomerulonephritis 
  •  Chronic renal diseases 
  •  Polycystic disease
  •  Renal artery blockage 

Endocrine (hormonal) causes 

  •  Acromegaly (abnormal secretion of the pituitary gland)
  •  Hypothyroidism (decreased secretion of the thyroid gland)
  •  Hyperthyroidism (increase secretions of the thyroid gland)
  •  Pregnancy-induced 

Cardiovascular causes 

  •  The rigidity of heart vessels 
  •  Increase cardiac output 

Neurologic causes

  •  Psychological 
  •  Increased intracranial pressure 
  •  Sleep apnea (breathing continuously stops and start during sleeping)
  •  Acute stress

Diagnosis of high blood pressure

For diagnosing blood pressure you have to take four to five readings of blood pressure with the interval of five days between, if you find your blood pressure elevated every time then you must seek guidance from your doctor. 

The one time elevated blood pressure doesn’t indicate that you have hypertension because it may be due to the environment and the food you intake. 

When you do a tour of the doctor, he takes the following tests to confirm the disease.

  •  Urine test 
  •  Cholesterol screening 
  •  Electrocardiogram 
  •  Ultrasound 

These tests help doctors to identify what is the underlying cause that leads to a constant increase in high blood pressure. 

Treatment of hypertension 

As mentioned above, hypertension is mostly because of some underlying cause so when this cause is diagnosed then, treatment is based on that cause. 

Sometimes hypertension is persistent besides proper treatments of the underlying cause in this case medication is to lower the blood pressure. 

Your doctor will also prescribe some lifestyle changes that are very helpful in hypertension.

  •  Ganglion blocking drugs – Nicotinic blockers that act in the ganglia are very efficient but because of their adverse effects they are now considered obsolete. Hexamwthonium and Trimethaphan are extremely powerful blood pressure-lowering ganglion blocking drugs.
  •  Beta-Blocker is used very heavily in treating hypertension. Propranolol, atenolol, metoprolol, and, carvedilol are among the most popular. They initially reduce the cardiac output but in chronic use, their action may include a decrease in vascular resistance as a contributing factor.
  •  Calcium channel blockers such as verapamil and diltiazem are effective vasodilators (dilates blood vessels). Because they are moderately efficacious and orally active, these drugs are suitable for chronic use in hypertension of any severity.
  •  Angiotensin receptor blocker works with ACE inhibitors, it inhibits the enzyme which converts one form of angiotensin to the other form so the level of angiotensin decreases in the blood and corresponding increase in vasodilators. This will help in blood vessels also slow down the heart rate to pump less blood in the vascular system. Labetalol is the most popular alpha-beta blocker using for the treatment of high blood pressure.
  •  Aldosterone antagonist such as spironolactone and inspra blocks the retention of salts and fluid that are contributing factors in increased blood pressure. So help in lowering the blood pressure. 
  •  Alpha-Beta blockers in addition to reducing nerve impulses to blood vessels also decrease the heart rate so that less blood is pumped in the vascular system. 

Sometimes blood pressure becomes uncontrolled and not responding to any drug, this condition is called resistant hypertension.

Complications of high blood pressure

The increased pressure on the walls of the vessels can damage them as well as different organs of the body. 

The more severe case of high blood pressure and more prolonged high blood pressure means more damage to the body. 

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to the following complications:

  •  Heart attack 
  •  Stroke 
  •  Dementia 
  •  Aneurysm 
  •  Heart failure 
  •  Metabolic syndrome 
  •  Arrhythmia 
  •  Dementia 


It is concluded that hypertension is a life-threatening disease that is difficult to diagnose and treat. You must take prevention to save yourself and your beloved ones from this fatal  conditions. The best way to avoid the complications of hypertension is to diagnose it earlier. You should check your blood pressure regularly either at home or in appointments with your doctor.


Back to top