The ONE organ responsible for high blood pressure.
What is the Latest You Should Know About the Two Types of Hypertension
Primary, or essential, high blood pressure is the most common type of high blood pressure. For most people who get this kind of blood pressure, it develops over time as you get older. Secondary high blood pressure is caused by another medical condition or use of
Hypertension 101Hypertension refers to an elevated force against your artery walls as your heart pumps to circulate blood throughout your body. When the force becomes too strong, it can have detrimental effects on your body. In a blood pressure reading, the top number, known as systolic pressure, refers to the force against your artery walls when the heart beats. Diastolic pressure, the bottom number, refers to the force against your arteries between beats when your heart is at rest. A normal blood pressure is below 120/80 and above 90/60. As your blood pressure increases, so does the risk of a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure damages your arteries, causing them to become narrow and reducing blood flow. The damage can also cause your heart to become weak and pump less efficiently. Sustained elevated blood pressure can also damage your brain and your kidneys. Treatment and lifestyle changes can help bring your blood pressure within a safe range. There are two types of hypertension, but the risks for both are the same.
Essential hypertensionAlso known as primary hypertension, essential hypertension is high blood pressure that doesn’t have a known cause. About 90-95% of hypertension cases are classified as essential hypertension. While doctors don’t know the exact cause of essential hypertension, it has been linked to certain risk factors. You’re more likely to develop primary hypertension if you have one or more of these risk factors:
- Family history of hypertension
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Excess dietary sodium
- Excess alcohol consumption
Treatment for essential hypertensionLifestyle changes are the cornerstone for treating essential hypertension. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with primary high blood pressure, your physician may recommend the following changes to help control your blood pressure:
Weight lossBeing overweight or obese puts a major strain on your circulatory system. As your weight increases, so does your blood pressure. The good news? Losing even a modest amount of weight can dramatically lower your blood pressure.
ExerciseBeing a couch potato is detrimental to many aspects of your health. Exercise makes your heart stronger, allowing it to pump more efficiently with less effort. When your heart pumps with less effort, your blood pressure decreases. Starting with something as simple as walking can have a positive impact on your blood pressure.
Adopting a heart-healthy dietAdopting a healthy diet is one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure. A heart-healthy diet is low in sodium and saturated fat and rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, heart-healthy fats, and lean protein. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet has these characteristics and is proven effective at lowering blood pressure. If diet and lifestyle changes aren’t enough, your physician may prescribe medication to control your blood pressure.
Secondary hypertensionA diagnosis of secondary hypertension means that there is a condition causing your blood pressure to remain elevated. Conditions that can cause secondary hypertension include:
- Kidney disease
- Thyroid disorders
- Obstructive sleep apnea