High Blood Pressure: Types, Diagnosis, and Categories

High Blood Pressure: Types, Diagnosis, and Categories

Oct 01, 2021

Blood pressure is defined as the measure of the force of blood pushing against the blood vessels in your body. Hypertension causes the heart to work harder while pumping blood out to the body. Symptoms mostly occur when the condition is at a severe stage. Some of the health problems caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure are stroke, hardening of the arteries, heart failure, dementia, metabolic syndrome, aneurysm, and kidney disease.

Types and Causes of High Blood Pressure

    1. Primary or Essential Hypertension

It is the most common type of high blood pressure and has no identifiable cause. Primary hypertension develops gradually over many years as a result of how our body changes as we age, our lifestyle, genes, and environment.

    1. Secondary Hypertension

This is high blood pressure caused by certain medication or underlying health conditions. It appears suddenly and causes higher blood pressure than essential hypertension. People who have issues such as obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid, and adrenal glands problems, congenital defects, and kidney disease are at risk of developing this condition. Other issues which cause secondary hypertension are:

    • Use of illegal drugs
    • Alcohol abuse
    • Medications such as cold remedies, decongestants, cold remedies, some prescription drugs, and some over-the-counter pain relievers

High Blood Pressure Diagnosis

High blood pressure is usually taken during your routine doctor’s appointments. From the age of 18, it is recommended that you get a blood pressure reading at least once every two years. Individuals who are 40 years or older or those who are at a high risk of blood pressure aged 18-39 should have a reading every year. Patients who have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure or have a high-risk factor for cardiovascular disease require more frequent high blood pressure readings.

During the diagnosis, the doctor will ask about your medical history and carry out a physical exam. An inflatable arm cuff will be placed around your arm, and your blood pressure will be measured using a pressure-measuring gauge. Your healthcare provider will measure your BP on both arms for accuracy as blood pressure fluctuates. Your blood pressure may fluctuate according to the time of day, after eating, or when anxious or stressed. Your doctor may take more than one reading after some intervals. Additional tests taken to confirm a diagnosis include an exercise stress test, urinalysis, cholesterol test, blood test, electrocardiogram, Holter monitoring, and an echocardiogram.

Categories of Blood Pressure

    1. Normal blood pressure

Normal blood pressure falls below 120/80mm Hg. The top figure represents the systolic rate, while the bottom number represents the diastolic rate.

    1. Elevated blood pressure

When your blood pressure falls at this level, the systolic pressure ranges from 120-129 mm Hg, while the diastolic pressure falls below 80 mm Hg. This category of blood pressure gets worse over time if not controlled.

    1. Stage 1 hypertension

The systolic pressure ranges from 130-139 mm Hg, and the diastolic pressure ranges from 80-89 mm Hg or above.

    1. Stage 2 hypertension

It is a severe hypertension stage with a systolic pressure of 140mm Hg or higher and a diastolic range of 90 mm Hg or above.

    1. Hypertensive crisis

When your blood pressure is in this category, it is an emergency requiring urgent medical care. Your blood pressure increases at once and may damage your organs and blood vessels, leading to a stroke, kidney failure, heart failure, memory loss, or eyesight damage. The blood pressure measurements in this category are higher than 180/120 mm Hg. When your blood pressure is taken at an interval of five minutes and the reading indicates a pressure of 180/120 mm Hg or above, rush to Express ER in Waco or any Waco emergency room near you.

Watch out for the symptoms below during a hypertensive crisis:

    • Chest pain
    • Blurred vision
    • Pain in the jaw or arm
    • Severe headache
    • Nausea
    • Shortness of breath
    • Anxiety
    • Confusion
    • Seizures
    • Nosebleeds
    • Back pain
    • Difficulty speaking
    • General lack of responsiveness

Hypertensive Crisis Treatment

If you have been asking, “what will ER do for high blood pressure” here is your answer. When you are rushed to the ER during a hypertensive crisis, the medical team will work to lower blood pressure. They will administer oral or intravenous medication after diagnosis. Further diagnosis will be carried out to assess the damage to your body organs. Additional treatment is given to address the complications of emergency hypertension. Some blood pressure medicines administered to treat hypertension include diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and alpha-2 agonists.

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