Hypertension (HTN)

Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a medical condition characterized by elevated blood pressure in the arteries. Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps it around the body. Hypertension is a significant risk factor for various cardiovascular diseases and can lead to serious complications if not properly managed.

Blood Pressure Levels:

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and is expressed as two numbers:

  1. Systolic Pressure: The higher number represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and pumps blood.
  2. Diastolic Pressure: The lower number represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats.

Normal blood pressure is generally considered to be around 120/80 mm Hg. Hypertension is often defined as having a blood pressure consistently equal to or higher than 130/80 mm Hg.

Types of Hypertension:

  1. Primary (Essential) Hypertension:

    • The most common type, with no identifiable cause. It develops gradually over time and is often related to aging and lifestyle factors.
  2. Secondary Hypertension:

    • Caused by an underlying condition, such as kidney disease, hormonal disorders, or the use of certain medications.

Risk Factors:

  1. Age: The risk of hypertension increases with age.
  2. Family History: Individuals with a family history of hypertension are at a higher risk.
  3. Race: Certain ethnic groups, such as African Americans, are more prone to hypertension.
  4. Obesity: Being overweight or obese increases the risk.
  5. Unhealthy Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity, poor diet (high in sodium), excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking contribute to hypertension.

Complications of Hypertension:

  1. Cardiovascular Disease:

    • Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
  2. Kidney Damage:

    • Persistent high blood pressure can lead to kidney damage and failure.
  3. Vision Impairment:

    • Hypertension can damage the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to vision problems.
  4. Aneurysms:

    • Weakened blood vessels may develop bulges or aneurysms.

Diagnosis and Monitoring:

  • Blood Pressure Measurements: Regular blood pressure monitoring at home or at a healthcare provider’s office.
  • Laboratory Tests: Blood and urine tests to assess organ function and identify any underlying causes.

Management and Treatment:

  1. Lifestyle Modifications:

    • Dietary changes (reducing sodium intake, adopting the DASH diet), regular exercise, weight management, and smoking cessation.
  2. Medications:

    • Various classes of antihypertensive medications may be prescribed based on the severity of hypertension. These include diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), calcium channel blockers, and others.


  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, limited alcohol consumption, and avoiding tobacco, can significantly reduce the risk of developing hypertension.

Hypertension is often a silent condition, with no noticeable symptoms in its early stages. Regular blood pressure monitoring, lifestyle modifications, and appropriate medical management are essential in preventing complications and maintaining overall cardiovascular health. Individuals with hypertension should work closely with healthcare providers to develop a personalized treatment plan.