What is Hypertension?

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Blood pressure refers to the pressure that blood applies to the inner walls of the arteries. Arteries carry blood from the heart to other organs and parts of the body. Untreated high blood pressure increases the strain on the heart and arteries, eventually causing organ damage. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart failure, heart attack (myocardial infarction), stroke, and kidney failure.Most adults with hypertension have primary hypertension (formerly called "essential" hypertension), which means that the cause of the high blood pressure is not known. A small subset of adults has secondary hypertension, which means that there is an underlying and potentially correctable cause, usually a kidney or hormonal disorder.

High Blood Pressure Diagnosis:

  • Persistently high at two office visits at least one week apart.
  • If you have damage from high blood pressure, such as heart\eye, or kidney injury.

Treatment of hypertension usually begins with lifestyle changes.

Making these lifestyle changes involves little or no risk. Recommended changes often include:

  • Reduce the amount of salt in your diet
  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol
  • Stop smoking
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day most days of the week

See your doctor or nurse right away if you have high blood pressure and get any of the following symptoms:

  • A very bad headache
  • Chest pain
  • Severe pain in your upper back
  • Problems breathing
  • Weakness on one side of your body and not the other
  • Problems speaking
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Vision changes
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blood in your urine

Hypertension & Nutrition:

Hypertension is a leading cause of kidney failure. A healthy diet is important in assisting with reduction of blood pressure.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is usually recommended for a person with Hypertension. It focusses on reducing sodium, fats and alcohol while increasing fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins. However, the DASH diet does recommend potassium rich foods and in a patient with chronic kidney disease, potassium may need to be limited.

Foods That Improve Blood Pressure:

  • Red bell pepper
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Potato
  • Kiwi
  • Banana
  • White Beans
  • Tilapia
  • Almonds & Cashews
  • Garlic

UKEEP High Blood Pressure: What You Should Know

UKEEP: Blood Pressure and U

New Guidelines from AHA/ACC on High Blood Pressure

New 2018 Guidelines from the ACC/AHA have redefined parameters for high blood pressure (130/80 mmHg). With this new guideline, almost half of Americans are considered to have high blood pressure.

Source: CNN News

Contributed by: Anjay Rastogi, MD, PhD

Disclaimer: The UCLA Health System cannot guarantee the accuracy of such information. The information is provided without warranty or guarantee of any kind. Please speak to your Physician before making any changes.