Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Hypertension Overview

What is hypertension?
A person with hypertension has persistent blood pressure readings over 140/90. A person with persistent blood pressure readings that are over 120/79 is said to have prehypertension. The first number of the blood pressure reading represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart pushes blood into the arteries: this is called the systolic pressure. The second number represents the pressure in the arteries just before the heart pumps blood into the arteries: this is called the diastolic pressure. In most cases, the cause for hypertension cannot be identified.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?
Most people with hypertension have no symptoms. However, symptoms may develop when the blood pressure changes rapidly or become very high. The first symptoms of worsening hypertension may include headaches, blurry vision, dizziness, nausea, and mild fatigue. As hypertension worsens, symptoms may progress to worsening headaches, worsening vision problems, and palpitations.

How does the doctor treat hypertension?
Treatment for hypertension includes a low salt diet, avoiding smoking and secondary smoke, exercise, weight reduction for obesity, and medications to control blood pressure. Rarely, surgery may be required to treat some causes of hypertension.

Continue to Hypertension Incidence

Last Updated: Sep 21, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Hypertension References
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  2. Kearney PM, Whelton M, Reynolds K, Whelton PK, He J. Worldwide prevalence of hypertension: a systematic review. J Hypertens. 2004 Jan;22(1):11-9. [15106785]
  3. Then KL, Rankin JA. Hypertension: a review for clinicians. Nurs Clin North Am. 2004 Dec;39(4):793-814. [15561162]
  4. Toto RD. Hypertension and kidney literature review 2000. Clin Nephrol. 2002 Oct;58(4):253-9. [12400839]
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