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Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common health condition that has many causative factors. But these causes can be broadly categorised into two types, which are primary (essential) hypertension and secondary hypertension.

Primary hypertension is the most prevalent form, accounting for about 90-95% of all cases. Its exact cause is not well understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors include a family history of hypertension, aging, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, high salt intake, excessive alcohol consumption, and stress. These factors can contribute to a gradual increase in blood pressure over many years.

Secondary hypertension is less common, comprising about 5-10% of cases, and is usually caused by an underlying condition. Potential causes include kidney disease, adrenal gland tumors, thyroid problems, certain congenital heart defects, chronic use of pain relievers, illegal drugs like cocaine, and certain prescription medications such as birth control pills, decongestants, and some antidepressants.

Lifestyle factors play a significant role in the development of hypertension. Diets high in sodium and low in potassium, a lack of physical activity, and excessive alcohol consumption can all contribute to higher blood pressure. Managing these risk factors through lifestyle changes and medication can help control and prevent hypertension, reducing the risk of serious complications like heart disease and stroke.


Below are some important things to note about hypertension:

Prevalence and Risk

– Common Condition: Hypertension is highly prevalent, affecting millions worldwide. It is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes.

– Risk Factors: Key risk factors include age, family history, obesity, physical inactivity, high sodium diet, excessive alcohol consumption, and chronic stress.

Silent Killer

– Lack of Symptoms: Often referred to as the “silent killer,” hypertension typically has no obvious symptoms. Many people with high blood pressure are unaware of their condition until they experience severe complications.

– Importance of Screening: Regular blood pressure checks are crucial for early detection and management.

Health Complications

– Impact on Organs: Untreated hypertension can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and vision loss.

– Long-term Damage: Consistently high blood pressure strains the heart and arteries, leading to long-term damage and an increased risk of life-threatening conditions.

Diagnosis and Monitoring

– Multiple Readings: Diagnosis is based on repeated blood pressure measurements over time to ensure accuracy.

– Home Monitoring: Patients are often encouraged to monitor their blood pressure at home to track changes and the effectiveness of treatments.

Management and Treatment

– Lifestyle Changes: Key management strategies include maintaining a healthy diet, reducing salt intake, engaging in regular physical activity, losing weight, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol.

– Medications: For many, medications such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers are necessary to control blood pressure. Treatment plans are tailored to individual needs and risk factors.