How do we know if we have Hypertension or high blood pressure and what causes it?
It’s easy for you to find out if you have hypertension, you only need to go to the doctor and have your blood pressure checked. When they take your pressure, they’ll get two numbers, for example, 120 mmHg and 80 mmHg, or as they say in medical slang: 120 over 80. The first number is called the systolic pressure and occurs when the heart contracts. The second number is the diastolic pressure and occurs when the heart expands. Normal systolic pressure values range between 90 and 130 mmHg, and diastolic pressure between 60 and 85 mmHg. The ideal level of systolic pressure is of 120 mmHg and that of diastolic pressure is of 80 mmHg.
Based on the results from your blood pressure checkup, you may have one of the following conditions:
- Hypotension with low blood pressure: When your result was Systolic pressure between 50 and 90 mmHg and diastolic between 35 and 60 mmHg.
- Hypotension with slightly lower blood pressure: When the result was Systolic pressure between 90 and 100 mmHg and diastolic 60 to 70 mmHg.
- Normal blood pressure: When the result was Systolic pressure between 100 and 130 mmHg and diastolic 70 to 85 mmHg.
- Hypertension with slightly high blood pressure: When the result was Systolic pressure between 130 and 140 mmHg and diastolic 85 to 90 mmHg.
- Hypertension with moderately high blood pressure: When the result was Systolic pressure between 140 and 160 mmHg and diastolic between 90 and 110 mm Hg.
- Hypertension with high blood pressure: When the result was Systolic pressure between 160 and 230 mmHg and diastolic between 110 and 135 mmHg.
Sometimes, systolic pressure is too high while the diastolic pressure remains at levels lower than 90 mmHg, this is known as isolated systolic hypertension. An isolated systolic hypertension with levels above 160 mmHg is of concern, just as a hypertension where both pressures (systolic and diastolic) are high.
What can cause Hypertension or High Blood Pressure?
Hypertension doesn’t begin in the same way in all cases, sometimes it can be caused by a specific problem, such as kidney failure, and this is called “secondary hypertension”. There are only a few of these cases; in most an apparent cause for the problem isn’t found and it is called “essential hypertension”.
Some research suggests that “essential hypertension” may be caused in some cases by insulin resistance, which is also thought to be the cause of type 2 (non-insulin dependent) Diabetes. Some people with insulin resistance have high levels of it in the blood, and this can cause the kidneys to expel water and salt more slowly, thus raising blood pressure levels. In addition, high insulin levels can also affect the autonomic nervous system and cause secretion of chemicals that constrict vessels, also causing hypertension.
In some cases, especially in people with type 2 Diabetes, age can narrow blood vessels. These damaged vessels increase blood flow resistance, and hypertension appears. Then this pressure will, in turn, damage the vessel walls, increasing blood flow resistance and blood pressure even more.
Normal systolic pressure values range between 90 and 130 mmHg, and diastolic pressure between 60 and 85 mmHg.