Health and Wellness

What is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?: Signs, Causes, and Treatment

High Blood Pressure: A Wake-Up Call As per the research conducted in India between 2017-18, about 57.5% of the respondents reported the issue of raised blood pressure as defined by the normal…

High Blood Pressure: A Wake-Up Call

As per the research conducted in India between 2017-18, about 57.5% of the respondents reported the issue of raised blood pressure as defined by the normal fasting glucose test. (Source)

Blood pressure is the force applied against the wall of your arteries when blood flows across them. It measures how much blood passes through your blood vessels and its resistance. At times, the force of blood pushing through the vessels may be high or low compared to normal. When the pressure is consistently too high or too low, an individual may experience high or low blood pressure. Consider high blood pressure a wake-up call. 

This article covers the basics of high blood pressure, including symptoms, reasons, diagnosis, and treatment. 

What is High Blood Pressure?

Narrow blood vessels (arteries) create resistance to blood flow throughout the body. When the resistance is too high, high blood pressure can develop. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm HG. When the blood pressure reading is 120 - 130/ 80 mm HG, it is considered the elated blood pressure. 

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition when the pressure in the vessels is above 130/80 mm HG. Hypertension is quite common, and you may not notice any symptoms. Early detection is important to save an individual from severe or life-threatening health issues. 

* Key Facts about High Blood Pressure

  • When the blood pressure reading is above 130/80 mm HG.
  • Can develop severe heart-related conditions, including heart attack, heart stroke, heart failure, and kidney failure. 
  • Two types of high blood pressure: Primary and Secondary
  • Healthcare provider carries out Aldosterone Test, Chloride Blood Test, Blood Pressure Test, and Renin Test based on the symptoms and severity experienced by the individual. 

How is Hypertension Different from Normal Health Conditions?

Increased blood pressure for a short period or developed due to a medical condition or any medication is not an issue. It can drop to normal blood pressure when the condition recovers, or the medication stops. The individual may or may not experience any major health issues. 

However, when high blood pressure or hypertension stays for a long time, it may cause damage to the arteries, making it harder for the heart to work. The individual can lead to severe heart diseases, including heart attack, heart stroke, heart failure, and kidney failure.   

Blood Pressure Chart

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm HG). In typical medical terms, blood pressure measurement has two parts: systolic pressure, which is the highest number of heart pressure readings when the heart contracts, and diastolic pressure, which is the lower number of blood pressure readings between heartbeats (when the heart rests between the beats). 


  • For blood pressure reading: 120/80 mm HG
  • The systolic pressure is 120 mm HG
  • The diastolic pressure is 80 mm HG

The table below shows the blood pressure readings and understanding by a healthcare provider: 

Blood Pressure Category

Systolic (mm HG) 

Diastolic (mm HG) 



< 120

< 80


Elevated (hypertension) 

120 - 129

< 80

Rising and can be controlled 

Stage 1 (hypertension)

130 - 139 

80 - 90 

No other heart risk factors

Stage 2 (hypertension)

140 or higher 

90 or higher

Other heart risk factors 

Hypertensive crisis 

180 or higher 

120 or higher

Dangerous: Seek urgent medical care

What are Different Types of High Blood Pressure?

Two main types of high blood pressure exist: primary and secondary high blood pressure. 

Primary Blood Pressure: 

  • Common type of blood pressure
  • Develops over time as an individual gets older

Secondary Blood Pressure: 

  • Caused by a health condition 
  • Develops due to the use of certain medication
  • Relieves when the necessary treatment is done, or the medication stops. 

What are the Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?

Generally, there are no symptoms in most people developing high blood pressure; that is why it is called a silent killer. However, people with very high blood pressure (180/120 or above) can experience the below signs and symptoms: 

  • Severe headache
  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Blurred vision and other vision changes
  • Chest pain 
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Buzzing in the tears
  • Nosebleeds
  • Abnormal heart beats

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure in Females

In women, different hormonal factors can lead to increased blood pressure. In different conditions like pregnancy, menopause, or using birth control pills, the female can experience the following symptoms: 

  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling
  • Change in vision

How is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed?

Diagnosing high blood pressure at the right time can prevent the risk of developing severe health diseases. Your healthcare provider may check the blood pressure readings in normal conditions and can also use different diagnostic tests: 

  • Aldosterone Test 
  • Chloride Blood Test
  • Blood Pressure Test 
  • Renin Test

What are the Risk Factors and Causes of High Blood Pressure?

Certain changes or effects of medication on the body can lead to high blood pressure. In some cases, a person may be born with specific genetic features causing health conditions. The following can work as a risk factor for developing high blood pressure: 

Essential (Primary) Hypertension Causes

Secondary Hypertension Causes

Genetic abnormalities

Kidney disease

Age factors (mostly those above 64)

Congenital heart defects

Race (Black American adults, etc.)

Obstructive sleep apnea

Obesity (high in weight)

Medications effects

High alcohol consumption

Underactive or overactive thyroid

Sedentary lifestyle

Use of illegal drugs

Diabetes/ metabolic syndrome

Chronic consumption of alcohol

High sodium intake

Endocrine tumors



What are the Complications of High Blood Pressure in the Body?

Untreated high blood pressure may damage the blood vessels and body organs, leading to health complications, including: 

  • Coronary artery diseases
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Complications during pregnancy
  • Eye damage
  • Vascular dementia
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Aneurysm (bulge of blood vessel)
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Changes in memory or understanding levels

What are High Blood Pressure Treatments?

Some of the possible high blood pressure treatments that can be implemented are as follows:

Home Remedies and Changes in Lifestyle to Lower High Blood Pressure: 

  • Eating a healthy or low-salt diet
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Being physically active 
  • Get enough potassium
  • Limit alcohol
  • Quit tobacco
  • Reduce and manage stress

Suggested Medications to Lower Blood Pressure Levels: The healthcare provider may recommend certain medications when the blood pressure level is high and cannot be controlled using lifestyle changes. Some of the common medicines recommended to control hypertension are:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Diuretics (water or fluid pills)

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Is 160/100 high blood pressure?

  1. Yes, blood pressure level of 160 or above on top and 100 or higher on the bottom indicates high blood pressure in stage 2. 

How can I bring my BP down quickly?

  1. If you are experiencing complications due to high blood pressure, contact your healthcare provider immediately. If you have high blood pressure without complications, ask your doctor for stress reduction. 

Is high blood pressure genetic?

  1. High blood pressure can be genetic or hereditary, but lifestyle choices are crucial. 

What is a high blood pressure diet?

  1. A person with high blood pressure can implement the given dietary changes: 
  • Whole foods rich in nutrients and low in sodium
  • Fruits 
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Lean proteins
  • Healthy fats while limiting salt


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