Hypertension

There are two types of high blood pressure: essential or primary hypertension and secondary hypertension.

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Hypertension

Although the exact cause of primary hypertension is unknown, underlying causes include heredity, obesity, lack of exercise, diet -including salt intake, cigarette smoking, sex, race, age, and even personality. Over 90 percent of all hypertensives fall into the primary category.

Secondary hypertension may be linked to kidney disease, endocrine disorders, use of oral contraceptives, and excessive use of alcohol.

There is some evidence that continual stress can trigger changes within the body that raise blood pressure and keep it high. However, the common myth that “nerves” or "a fit of rage" can bring on hypertension simply isn’t true. High blood pressure is a disease; and even though it is often "silent," it must be treated promptly, exactly as directed by your physician.

Changes in the arteries can complicate the problem. Normally the arteries are rather springy; in addition to expanding and contracting in rhythm with the heart, they adjust themselves to the volume of the blood and to other conditions within the body, stretching or tightening up as necessary to raise, lower, or maintain blood pressure. Various factors -- stress, for instance -- as well as diet, heredity, lifestyle, and aging, have a negative effect on the arteries. They become less elastic and thus less able to adjust to changes in the body; and they tend to become coated with arterial cholesterol plaque, a fatty deposit that clogs them, just as deposits in your house’s pipes can cause your sink to back up.

This condition, called atherosclerosis, can obstruct coronary arteries, and can lead to a stroke if arteries that supply blood to the brain become blocked.

Be wise, live healthy.


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Hypertension
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American Society of Hypertension, Inc.
Dedicated to hypertension and related cardiovascular disease.

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