What can lead to high blood pressure?
Hypertension or ‘High blood pressure’ is a condition that seems to be affecting millions of people worldwide. Unhealthy lifestyles, stress, genetics and the environment can all contribute to an individual’s state of being hypertensive.
Why does it called the ‘Silent Killer’?
Even though it affects so many people in the world, the fact of the matter is, half of them are undiagnosed. The reason for not being able to diagnose hypertension in affected individuals is its chronic and non symptomatic disease progression. Often referred to as the ‘silent killer’, it can keep silent and cause damage to the body organs over a long period of time.
What is ‘Malignant Hypertension’?
In contrast to the usual hypertensive disease seen in many individuals, there can be a much devastating and rapidly progressing type of high blood pressure known as ‘Malignant Hypertension’. The dramatic nature of its appearance could help in differentiating it from a chronic type of hypertension.
What are the symptoms of Hypertension?
Symptoms of hypertension are generally vague. It requires lot of exclusions to diagnose the symptom being actually due to hypertension or due to some other cause. It is more likely that a patient will present with symptoms of organ damage than presenting with symptoms due to hypertension per se.
These symptoms can be classified as non specific symptoms and symptoms occurring due to complications.
Some of the more common non specific symptoms of hypertension would be,
2. Morning headache
5. Blurred vision
These symptoms are both vague as well as minor in the sense that it does little harm to the patient and their day to day activities. Although it is common practice for patients to associate headache with elevated blood pressure, it may not be so. There are more causes for headache than high blood pressure. Therefore, these symptoms do not warrant the sudden treatment with antihypertensive but would indicate a serial measurement of blood pressure to monitor its fluctuation.
Apart from the patients who are asymptomatic, the rest of the hypertensive patients will demonstrate symptoms due to organ damage initiated by persistent or suddenly elevated blood pressure.
The organs that are mainly affected would be:
5. Blood vessels
Damaged organs can give rise to more profound and severe symptoms that will demonstrate the true nature of uncontrolled hypertension. Some of these symptoms are:
1. Chest pain
2. Shortness of breath
4. Stroke or paralysis
5. Blindness or blurred vision
6. Poor urine output
7. Nose bleeding
8. Nausea and vomiting
These symptoms would prompt urgent intervention in getting the blood pressure down and save further damage to the body organs. In certain instances, as in long term high blood pressures, the lowering of the blood pressure should be done in a controlled manner. This is to accommodate effective organ perfusion in an unaccustomed level of low blood pressure after initiating the treatment.
It is common practice to further investigate patients with hypertension related organ damage to find any other complications which might go undiagnosed. Furthermore, young patients with elevated blood pressure should be thoroughly investigated for an underlying cause.