Hypertension

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Hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure. Hypertension can be life threatening if not treated. It can have no symptoms and is often only discovered during a routine visit to the doctor's office.

Definitions

Blood pressure above 139/89 is considered hypertension. The American Heart Association groups blood pressure into four categories[1]:

  • Normal (below 120/80)
  • Prehypertension (120/80 to 139/89)
  • Stage 1 hypertension (140/90 to 159/99)
  • Stage 2 hypertension (160/100 and above)

Stage 2 hypertension needs aggressive medical attention because it can be life threatening, especially if one has an underlying heart condition such as Coronary Artery Disease. Possible adverse events that can result include heart attack and stroke. Even prehypertension should not be taken lightly however, and changes in diet and lifestyle can often reverse it.

The opposite of Hypertension is Hypotension, referring to low blood pressure.

Treatment

Among the steps one can take to reverse high blood pressure are:

If the above fail, or in cases of advanced (stage 2) hypertension, medications can be prescribed to more aggressively treat hypertension.


References and notes

  1. http://americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=2112
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