Hypertension: Symptoms, Causes, Risks & Types

What Is Hypertension?

Hypertension is a medical condition, also known as high blood pressure.

This is a long-term medical condition. 

Hypertension is a common health condition that many people across the world suffer.

Hypertension is a medical condition where the force of blood against the artery walls is too high. The pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated.

image showing graphics of hypertension

This medical condition will eventually lead to heart diseases and, in some cases, many chronic diseases(e.g., stroke) with age.

Blood pressure is usually defined as the force of circulating blood on the walls of arteries. It is usually the measure of the pressure of blood in the artery.

It is not static as it varies depending on various factors. Several factors such as the volume of circulating blood, the viscosity of blood, the elasticity of arteries wall, temperature, height, a person’s emotional state, etc., can affect a person’s blood pressure.

The blood pressure is also different for men and women.

Blood pressure is usually measured concerning two measurements:

  • Systolic – when the blood pressure is at its highest
  • Diastolic – when the blood pressure is at its lowest

Optimal Blood Pressure Range

The optimal blood pressure for a person is reading below 120/80mmHg.

Blood pressure above 140/90mmHg (BP> 140/90mmHg) is generally termed high blood pressure or hypertension.   

Blood pressure lower than 90/60mmHg (BP<90/60mmHg) is generally termed as low blood pressure or hypotension.

Hypertension can cause an increase in the build-up of plaque on the artery walls, clogging the blood flow to our heart muscles which a risk for a heart attack.


Some of the symptoms usually seen in people suffering from hypertension are:-

  • Severe headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Blood in the urine
  • A pounding feeling in the head, chest, arms, or neck

The symptoms may be different for an individual. Some people may suffer from high blood pressure for years without any symptoms.

Undiagnosed high blood pressure for several years may increase the chances of heart stroke.


Primary Hypertension

Primary hypertension is also called essential hypertension. This is the most common type of hypertension.

Primary hypertension is categorized when there is no cause of high blood pressure. This remains a significant cause of cardiovascular (heart) diseases.

Genetic factors are said to play an essential role in primary hypertension.

Secondary Hypertension

Secondary hypertension occurs when high blood pressure is caused due to some other medical condition.

It can be caused due to condition that affects the kidneys, heart, arteries, or immune system.

Proper treatment in time will succumb to the underlying causes of secondary hypertension, reducing the risk of other chronic diseases.

Causes of Hypertension

Family history

Individuals are at greater risk to suffer from high blood pressure whose parents are suffering from hypertension.

If both parents suffer from hypertension, the child has an elevated risk of suffering from high blood pressure.


The reckless lifestyle and imbalance in food habits are the main reason for obesity.

The more is the body weight, the more is the need for blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues.

Thus, the volume of blood flowing in the blood vessels increases, which results in more pressure in the artery walls.


Blood pressure is affected by environmental conditions like temperature, altitude, pollution, noise, and many more. These conditions have a prevalence effect on the blood pressure in an individual.


Blood pressure of a person is generally lower in summer and higher in winter time. As the temperature of the body increases, there is an increased blood flow in the body which results in low blood pressure.


Alcohol causes a rise in cortisol level, which keeps on increasing for regular drinkers


The nicotine present in the cigar is of significant risk to it the blood pressure and heart rate. It narrows the arteries, hardens the walls, and results in the blood being more likely to clot.

Side effects of medication

Many medicines consumed by an individual lead to disturbance in the body, leading to hypertension. One has to be careful which consuming medicine as some medicine has significant impacts on our blood pressure.

Adrenal gland problems

The medulla present in the adrenal gland produces hormones that regulate stress in the body. The cortex present also secretes hormones that affect blood sugar level and blood pressure level.  

Use of illegal drugs

These drugs narrow the arteries that supply blood to our heart, causing high blood pressure. Some also cause damage and hence death to the cardiac muscles. This leads to an elevation in the hypertension rate.

Lack of sleep

Due to lack of sleep, the body’s ability to regulate stress hormones and maintain the nervous system’s stability is disturbed.

People who sleep for less than six hours at night are a greater chance of suffering from hypertension.

High altitude

In high altitude, usually the hypertension increases and may reduce for some people only after 1-2 weeks after acclimatization.

In high altitude, usually due to a higher level of adrenaline or stress hormone, which usually occurs due to low oxygen level, there is high blood pressure.

Less oxygen

Low oxygen in the body make the pulmonary artery narrow. This leads to the squeezing of blood in the pulmonary arteries, which increases blood pressure and thus resulting in pulmonary hypertension.

High salt

Salt contains sodium. This results in an increase in sodium in the bloodstream. This results in dis-balance and reduces the ability to remove water from the kidney.

Due to the inability to remove the water from the kidney, there is an increase in high blood pressure because of extra-fluids and extra-stain on the delicate blood vessels leading to the kidney.

There is a recommendation from the American Heart Association that people should not intake more than 2,300 milligrams of salt a day.

For ideal adults with high blood pressure, a maximum of 1,500 milligrams of salt should be consumed.

Lack of physical activity

A study has shown that people with a lack of physical activity have a high risk of suffering from hypertension.

You can do cycling and running in the morning. Cycling can be effective to reduce belly fat.

The equation is simple, the rate of a person’s heartbeat should be equal to the amount of hard work compared to physical activity that should be done.

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