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Understanding the Different Types of Hypertension

written by: Carmen Tomas • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 8/16/2010

Hypertension is generally known as having high blood pressure. Having hypertension must not be taken lightly nor be dismissed quickly, especially since it does not usually have symptoms. Its "silent killer" label is well-deserved.

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    About 1 in 4 Americans suffers from having high blood pressure and nearly a third of them do not know they have it. Those with family members with hypertension history are advised to have their blood pressure checked on a regular basis since the probability of them developing it is quite high. High blood pressure increases the risks of heart diseases and stroke. Untreated hypertension can also lead to kidney failure and eye problems. Let us understand first what it is before moving on to the two types of hypertension and the preventive measures we can take.

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    What is Considered as a High Blood Pressure?

    The ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Clinical studies show that people with less than 120/80 blood pressures are unlikely to develop vascular and heart diseases that normally causes heart attacks and strokes.

    Pre-hypertension reads in the range of 120-139/80-89 but physicians normally start to put patients on blood pressure medications with BP readings higher than 140/90.

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    Types of Hypertension

    There are two types of hypertension; 95% of reported hypertension cases have the most common form, which is essential hypertension. It is usually between the ages of 25 to 55 that essential hypertension begins to develop. The cause for this type of high blood pressure is still to be determined. However, certain lifestyle and diet factors have been linked to cause essential hypertension; such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise. Also, salty foods have been proven to increase one’s blood pressure from its normal rate. Men are more likely to be affected by essential hypertension than women and studies in the U.S. show that Blacks are twice more likely to be hypertensive than Whites.

    Secondary hypertension is less common than essential hypertension, and is the remaining 5% of the hypertension cases. It is secondary hypertension when a direct cause for it can be identified. Kidney diseases rank the highest cause for this type of high blood pressure. Others are:

    • Tumors
    • Thyroid gland disease
    • Adrenal gland tumors
    • Blood flow obstruction through the aorta
    • Birth control pills
    • Pregnancy
    • Diseases that leads to cortisol excess
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    Medication and Treatment

    Your doctor will put you on medication if your blood pressure stays on the 140/90 mark despite modifications in behavioral and lifestyle patterns. One brand or a combination of medications will be prescribed by your physician as necessary. The usual medications for hypertension are:

    • Beta-Blockers
    • ACE Inhibitors – Angiotensin converting Enzymes
    • ARB – Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers
    • Thiazide Diuretics
    • Calcium Channel Blockers
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    Prevention

    Newly diagnosed hypertensive patients are required to have a lifestyle and diet modification. Some changes will include but not limited to:

    • Change daily diet to include plenty of fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy foods
    • Reduce weight. As little as ten (10) pounds will mean a lot in keeping your blood pressure low
    • Decrease alcohol consumption and stop smoking
    • Restriction in salt intake or salty food
    • To get plenty of sleep
    • And to have a regular exercise regime

    Hypertension normally leads to many diseases, illnesses and eventually death so treating it at the most earliest stage could save you. Sticking to a healthy lifestyle can mean a great deal in keeping you from acquiring hypertension. If high blood pressure runs in the family, it gives you the more reason to be careful of what you eat and what you do to prevent it being triggered and taking over your life. So practice regular exercise, live and eat healthy for a long and fruitful life.

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    Resources

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/DS00100

    http://www.medicinenet.com/high_blood_pressure/page2.htm#toc2bp

    http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/hypertension-treatment-medications