Hypertension is a medical condition in which your blood pressure is elevated. Commonly, hypertension is referred to as high blood pressure. Hypertension can is usually classified as primary (essential) or secondary. Essential hypertension is the most common type of hypertension. This occurs when there is no medical explanation to why one's blood pressure is raised. 90-95% of hypertension is Essential Hypertension. Secondary hypertension signals the presence of another condition (i.e Kidney Disease, or tumors). Persistent hypertension is one of the leading risk factors for heart attacks and failure, strokes, and arterial aneurysm. The moderate elevation of blood pressure leads to a shortened life expectancy. At 50% or more high pressures, a person can live no longer than a couple years, unless treated. Prehypertension, a new category designated in the JNC 7 report, emphasizes that patients with prehypertension are at risk for progression to hypertension and that lifestyle modifications are important preventive strategies. Another name for Hypertension would be "The Silent Killer" because often there are no symptoms for it for years, sometimes even decades.

Generally, there are no symptoms for hypertension, so you don't generally feel it. In the case your blood pressure is extremely high, there are a couple of warning signs you should look for, including:
  • Severe headache
  • Fatigue or confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with breathing
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should immediately contact your doctor. These may be symptoms of a hypertensive crisis, which could lead to heart attack or stroke. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to stoke, heart disease, kidney failure, and eye problems.

Hypertension can be prevented in many ways. One way is if you are over the age of 18, you must get you blood pressure checked regularly. Lifestyle changes also may be implemented to decrease your blood pressure. These changes may be if you are overweight, loose some weight, exercise regularly, eat diets rich in fruits and vegetables, and low in total and saturated fat, avoid smoking, avoid consuming more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day, and manage your stress.

By the Numbers
Twenty-four percent, or an estimated 43 million, of the adult, civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States had hypertension. The overall prevalence of hypertension was slightly higher among men than women. Non-Hispanic black men and women had higher crude and age-adjusted prevalence rates of hypertension than their non-Hispanic white or Mexican American counterparts. The crude overall prevalence rate for non-Hispanic whites (24.6%) was much higher than that for Mexican Americans (14.3%). After age adjustment, however, non-Hispanic whites and Mexican Americans had similar overall prevalence rates of hypertension (23.3% and 22.6%, respectively).

Awareness, Treatment, and Control of High Blood Pressure

Among non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites, approximately two thirds of the men and three quarters of the women were aware of their high blood pressure. The corresponding percentages were lower for Mexican American men and women (44% and 64%, respectively).

Awareness varied by age, but there was no fixed pattern to this variation across the six race-sex groups. For all three racial/ethnic groups, women were more aware of their hypertension than men. The discrepancy in knowledge between men and women was greatest among Mexican Americans (20%) and lowest among non-Hispanic blacks (10%). Treatment and control of hypertension were also more common among women than men and among non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites than Mexican Americans.

Except for non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white women, fewer than 50% of those with hypertension in each race-sex group reported that they were taking antihypertensive medication for their high blood pressure. Fewer than one third (28%) of Mexican American men were being treated in this fashion, and the percentage was even lower for Mexican Americans 18 to 49 years of age (17%). Even when the analysis was confined to those who were being treated, fewer than 50% were being controlled in each of the six race-sex groups; the percentage was as low as 38% for Mexican American men. There was less discrepancy between the percentage of participants treated for hypertension who were being controlled in each of the six race-sex groups than between the percentage who reported being treated per se.

~ http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/25/3/305.full ~

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Related Terminology
High blood pressure
Myocardial infarction
hypertensive crisis


Twenty-four percent, or an estimated 43 million, of the adult, civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States had hypertension