WHAT IS HYPERTENSION?
Blood pressure is the force of the blood against the walls of the blood vessels, while talking about high blood pressure or hypertension is when that force of blood against the walls of the vessels is much higher than normal.1
The standard value of blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg, when your blood pressure is high it is called hypertension, it means that one or both numbers of the standard value is above.
Approximately half of the population of the United States 20 years and over suffer from high blood pressure and are unaware of it. High blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attack and brain damage.1
HOW DOES THE DAMAGE BEGIN?
The damage begins in your arteries and heart, since the main mechanism in which high blood pressure causes damage is by increasing the workload of the heart and blood vessels. Over time, the force and friction of high blood pressure damages the delicate tissues within the arteries.1
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
The best way to make a diagnosis to determine if you suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension, is when the blood pressure is measured and repeatedly that value is higher than 140/90 mmHg.2
Ideally, make two or more measurements of blood pressure at each visit up to four different times. The first measurement will be made on both arms and the next will be on that arm that has presented the highest value.2
To measure your blood pressure, a health professional will place an inflatable cuff around your arm and measure your blood pressure.3
CAN I TELL IF I HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE FROM THE WAY I FEEL?
The answer is no. When your body has high blood pressure there really are no symptoms that make you think you have hypertension. When you have a health checkup, your doctor can detect if there are high levels of pressure and from there start with the procedure that your doctor recommends diagnosing this condition.
In some cases, patients frequently report headaches, but this symptom is not specific enough to reach an accurate diagnosis.3
WHY DO I SUFFER IT?
There are two types of high blood pressure
PRIMARY O ESSENTIAL
90% of hypertensive patients are diagnosed with this type4.
It is classified as a patient with secondary hypertension the one in which the causes are identifiable, only 10% of the population are diagnosed with this type of hypertension4.
When a secondary hypertension is diagnosed it is because this is an undiagnosed disease, there are several disorders or medications that can produce this type5.
However, the above can be assigned risk factors that allow you to be more prone to suffer from high blood pressure, pay attention to the following risk factors:
As your age advances, it is more likely that you´ll become hypertensive. Over the years, blood vessels are hardening and thickening, these types of changes are what make you a candidate for high blood pressure6.
However, due to poor dietary habits and the related increase in obesity, many children and adolescents are at risk of high blood pressure at such a young age.
During fetal development there may be changes in the DNA that could cause you or one of your family members to suffer from high blood pressure. It is even known that some people are more sensitive to sodium and this could also be hereditary6.
RACE OR ETNIA
High blood pressure is more frequent in black or African-American adults and one of the reasons could be they have a higher renal sodium retention. When comparisons are made with other races or ethnic groups, blood pressure values are higher than normal and tend to suffer from hypertension at a younger age7.
Before age 55, men tend to have more chances of having high blood pressure, while women after menopause, that is, after age 558.
1. American Heart Association. (2017). High Blood Preasure. Obtenido de AHA: https://www.heart.org/-/media/data-import/downloadables/whatishighbloodpressure_span-ucm_316246.pdf
2. Tagle, R. (2018). Diagnóstico de Hipertensión Arterial. Rev Med Clin Condes, 29(1), 12-20.
3. Tagle, R. (2018). Diagnóstico de Hipertensión Arterial. Rev Med Clin Condes, 29(1), 12-20.
4. Rondanelli I, R., & Rondanelli S, R. (2015). Hipertensión Arterial Secundaria en el Adulto: evaluación diagnóstica y manejo. Rev Med Clin Condes, 26(2), 164-174.
5. Charles, L., Triscott, J., & Dobbs, B. (2017). Secondary Hypertension: Discovering the Underlying Cause. American Family Physician, 96(7), 453-461.
6. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. (2019). Presión Arterial Alta. Obtenido de NIH: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/espanol/presion-arterial-alta
7. Urina-Triana, M., Urina-Jassir, D., Urina-Jassir, M., & Urina-Triana, M. (2017). Consideraciones epeciales de la hipertensión arterial sistémica en afrodescendientes de América Latina. Revista Latinoamericana de Hipertensión, 12(5), 196-205.
8. National Institute on Aging. (2018). La presión arterial alta. Obtenido de NIH: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/presion-arterial-alta