Types Of Hypertension, Their Causes, And Preventive Measures

Hypertension

In this article, we’ll discuss various types of hypertension, causes behind these issues, and a few preventive measures you can keep in mind to stay safe.

What Is Hypertension?

Hypertension is a common heart-health problem in which the force and pressure of blood against the walls of the arteries are too high. It is commonly called ‘High Blood Pressure‘. The blood pressure levels are high when they are above 140/90. The problem becomes grave when the levels are above 180/120. Although hypertension is preventable and manageable, it requires proper diagnosis and medication before it leads to other health conditions.

Hypertension does not show a lot of symptoms in the short-term. It may take years for the symptoms to become externally visible as the problem gradually intensifies.

Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Breathing problems, mainly shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden lack of energy

Causes

Several daily habits or an unhealthy diet can contribute towards the thinning of the blood vessels, causing blood pressure to drastically increase, and eventually hypertension.

Some of the causes include:

  • Smoking on a daily basis
  • Being obese
  • Doing no form of exercise – a sedentary lifestyle
  • Extremely salty or fatty diet
  • Genetics

Types Of Hypertension

1. Primary Hypertension

Also known as ‘essential’ hypertension, most adults who suffer from high blood pressure fall under this category. This type of hypertension does not have a secondary cause.

Genetic factors are generally the cause of essential hypertension. However, genetics don’t guarantee that the person will have high blood pressure. But a person with a genetic history who leads an unhealthy and stressful life has very high chances of suffering from primary hypertension.

There are no symptoms of primary hypertension. It is usually detected during regular health checkups. It is a condition that can occur at any stage, but middle-aged adults are more prone to suffer from it.

2. Secondary Hypertension

Secondary Hypertension or Secondary High Blood Pressure is caused by a secondary disease. The root cause is not genetic but based on other health conditions that a person might be suffering from.

Like primary hypertension, there are no specific symptoms of secondary hypertension until the blood pressure levels are fatally high.

Symptoms

  • If you’re suffering from resistant hypertension, that is if blood pressure medication does not help in improving blood pressure levels, then you’re suffering from secondary hypertension.
  • If your blood pressure levels are too high, that is around 180/120, then it is highly likely that you have is secondary hypertension. Essential hypertension does not lead to such high blood pressure levels.
  • A sudden rise in blood pressure in middle-age persons is directly linked to secondary high blood pressure.
  • If one has no family history of blood pressure and does not suffer from obesity but still suffers from high blood pressure, he/she is undoubtedly a patient of secondary hypertension.

Causes

  • Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can disrupt the functioning of kidneys. This can damage the filtering mechanism of the kidneys and can lead to high blood pressure.
  • Birth Control Pills: Oral contraceptives contain estrogen. Estrogen heightens the risk of secondary hypertension by causing a worrisome spike in blood pressure levels.
  • Alcohol Addiction: Having more than one to two drinks of alcohol every day can increase blood pressure, especially in people who are sensitive to alcohol.
  • Adrenal disease: Rare tumors found in the adrenal gland fasten the production of specific hormones. This can lead to long-term secondary hypertension or short term spikes in blood pressure.
  • Thyroid:  The low or abnormally high production of the thyroid hormone can cause spikes in blood pressure levels. Abnormal functioning of the thyroid gland leads to thyroid issues, which further leads to thinning of arteries and secondary hypertension.

Other Types of Hypertension

1. Resistant Hypertension

When blood pressure levels are so high that they are too difficult to control and require constant medication, is known as Resistant Hypertension. 

As the name suggests, it is resistant because the blood sugar stays above the treatment target, despite taking proper medication. It can be called a sub-type of secondary hypertension because there is an underlying cause for this condition.

2. Malignant Hypertension:

Malignant Hypertension is an emergency condition in which high blood pressure causes damage to other organs of the body. It is the most severe type of hypertension and is prominent in African nations. Seeking immediate medical help is necessary to treat this condition.

3. Isolated Systolic Hypertension:

When the systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels are above 140mm Hg and 90 mm Hg respectively, a person would be labeled as a patient of Isolated Systolic Hypertension. It usually occurs in elderly people above the age of sixty.

How to Prevent And Treat Hypertension?

  • Keep a regular track of your blood pressure: Knowing the risk you’re facing can greatly help in seeking help at the right time. It is highly advisable to either get your blood pressure checked by a doctor or check it with a blood pressure monitoring kit at home – do this every fortnight.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Quitting smoking and excessive drinking can be really helpful for a person suffering from hypertension. Eating less sugar and carbohydrate-based meals can also help in preventing such a situation. Maintaining moderate body weight, cutting back on salt, and eating more potassium can also help in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
  • Medication: It goes without saying that taking medication is not very effective without making certain lifestyle changes. There are several types of medicines to lower your blood pressure levels. It’s important to stick to the prescribed medication and to consult your doctor regularly.

Types Of Hypertension: Conclusion

Hypertension is treatable and can even be prevented easily. If the symptoms are too acute, there is a need for proper diagnosis and medication. It is a chronic disease that affects a huge number of people across all age groups. 

The most dangerous thing about hypertension is that most people don’t realize that they have it until it’s too late, which is why it is called a ‘silent killer’. If the underlying condition that might be causing a spike in blood pressure levels is known, it can be treated with proper medication and consequently, the blood pressure levels will fall to the healthy levels.