- Race/Ethnicity: This disease can affect anyone. However, it occurs more often in African-American adults than in Caucasian or Hispanic American adults.
- Overweight or Obesity: You're more likely to develop pre-hypertension or HBP if you are overweight or obese.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits: A number of lifestyle habits can raise your risk for hypertension, including:
- Drinking too much alcohol.
- Eating too much sodium (salt).
- Not getting enough potassium in your diet.
- Not doing enough physical activity.
- Family History: A family history of hypertension raises your risk for the condition. Long-lasting stress also can put you at risk for this disease. You are also more likely to develop hypertension if you have prehypertension (your blood pressure is in the 120-139/80-89 mmHg range).
- Blurred vision.
- Palpitations or irregular heartbeats.
- Shortness of breath.
- Excessive sweating.
- Ringing or buzzing in ears.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Electrocardiogram (EKG): This test is used to detect the electrical activity of the heart and is used to detect and record heart related problems associated with HBP. Doppler studies can also be used to detect abnormalities in heart relaxation (diastolic dysfunction).
- Chest X-Ray: A chest x-ray can rule out (or in) the possibility of an enlarged of heart.
- Blood Test: Cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Diuretics rid the body of excess fluids and salt (sodium) and should be used as initial therapy for most patients.
- Other medications called beta-blockers reduce the heart rate and the heart's output of blood.
- Another class of antihypertensives is called sympathetic nerve inhibitors. Sympathetic nerves go from the brain to all parts of the body, including the arteries. They can cause the arteries to constrict, raising blood pressure. This class of drugs reduces blood pressure by inhibiting these nerves from constricting blood vessels.
- Another group of drugs is the vasodilators. These can cause the muscle in the walls of the blood vessels (especially the arterioles) to relax, allowing the vessel to dilate (widen).
- Other classes of drugs used to treat high blood pressure are the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers and the calcium antagonists (calcium channel blockers). The ACE inhibitors interfere with the body's production of angiotensin, a chemical that causes the arteries to constrict. The angiotensin II receptor blockers block the effects of angiotensin. The calcium antagonists can reduce the heart rate and relax blood vessels.
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