Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

hypertension

hypertension or high blood pressure, elevated blood pressure resulting from an increase in the amount of blood pumped by the heart or from increased resistance to the flow of blood through the small arterial blood vessels (arterioles). Hypertension was generally defined as a blood pressure reading of 140 over 90 or higher, but new guidelines issued in 2017 define hypertension as 130 over 80 or higher. Presssures of 120–129 over less than 80 are considered elevated. When the cause is unknown, the hypertension is called primary, or essential, hypertension. When a cause can be identified (e.g., a disorder of the adrenal glands, kidneys, or arteries), the condition is known as secondary hypertension. Factors such as heredity, obesity, smoking, and emotional stress are thought to play a role; the usual immediate cause is an imbalance in the body's vasoconstriction/fluid retention systems, often involving a decrease in the kidney's secretion of the regulatory hormone, renin.

Known as the "silent killer," hypertension often produces few overt symptoms; it may, however, result in damage to the heart, eyes, kidneys, or brain and ultimately lead to congestive heart failure, heart attack (see infarction), kidney failure, or stroke. African Americans and women are the most affected. Treatment of hypertension includes diets to reduce weight and salt and alcohol intake, increased exercise, quitting smoking, and various drugs, such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, calcium-channel blockers or angiotensin-receptor blockers, as well as biofeedback. Many patients require a combination of drugs to control their blood pressure. Treatment for persons with prehypertension includes dietary and other lifestyle changes. Recent research has questioned the importance of dietary salt as a major contributor to hypertension; some studies point to low calcium intake as a cause.

See also eclampsia.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): Selected full-text books and articles

Fast Facts about Hypertension Nutrition Health Review, No. 96, Winter 2005
Pressure Points: More People Have Hypertension, Say New Guidelines By Dow, Caitlin Nutrition Action Healthletter, Vol. 45, No. 1, January-February 2018
Lifestyle Modification for the Prevention and Treatment of Hypertension By Paul K. Whelton; Jiang He; Gail T. Louis Marcel Dekker, 2003
Hypertension in Later Life By Supiano, Mark A Generations, Vol. 30, No. 3, Fall 2006
Hypertension in African Americans and Its Related Chronic Diseases By Moulton, Sandra A Journal of Cultural Diversity, Vol. 16, No. 4, Winter 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Hypertension and Neurocognitive Function in Older Adults: Blood Pressure and Beyond By Waldstein, Shari R.; Wendell, Carrington Rice; Katzel, Leslie I Annual Review of Gerontology & Geriatrics, Vol. 30, January 1, 2010
Hypertension Improvement through Healthy Lifestyle Modifications By Rigsby, Brenda D ABNF Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2, Spring 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease By Gianluca Iacobellis Oxford University Press, 2009
Neuropsychology of Cardiovascular Disease By Shari R. Waldstein; Merrill E. Elias Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001
Librarian's tip: Chap. Two "Hypertension and Cognitive Function"
The Moment of Truth on Hypertension By Balatbat, Joseph H Journal of Continuing Education Topics & Issues, Vol. 10, No. 3, August 2008
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