Hypertension is a condition when the body’s blood pressure is persistently elevated (staying high for a long period of time). Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood against the blood vessel walls. Persistent high blood pressure creates undue stress on the heart, blood vessels and other organs.

What is Blood Pressure?

It is the measured force of blood against the wall of arteries. Recorded as two numbers; The ‘Systolic’ pressure (heart beats) over the ‘Diastolic’ pressure (heart relaxed). As an example; 120 over 80.

What causes High Blood Pressure?

The causes of high blood pressure remain a bit of a mystery, medical experts aren't exactly certain of all the mechanisms involved.

Some patients (about 5%) who require hypertension treatment can trace their high blood pressure to specific physical causes such as kidney disease.

For the remaining 95% of patients that are treated for hypertension, the causes of high blood pressure are unknown. However, diet and stress are prime suspected contributors to hypertension.

Treatment of the disease reduces the symptoms of high blood pressure; Dr. Sarma will review treatment options during your consultation.

What happens if the high Blood pressure is not treated?

High blood pressure is a dangerous condition, and it should be treated appropriately. Over a period of time, once damage to the heart or other organs has begun, it is often irreversible. Uncontrolled high blood pressure damages the heart and other organs, accelerates hardening of the arteries and build-up of cholesterol-laden plaques on arterial walls, and can be lethal.

1. If your systolic blood pressure is generally greater than 150 mm Hg, your risk of suffering stroke is four times greater than normal.
2. If your diastolic blood pressure is generally greater than 90 mm Hg, your risk of developing coronary artery disease more than doubles.
3. If your overall blood pressure is generally greater than 150/90, your risk of developing congestive heart failure is four times greater than normal.

Blood pressure level (mm Hg)
Category Systolic Diastolic
<120 <80
Prehypertension 120-139 80-89
High Blood Pressure
Stage 1 hypertension 140-159 90-99
Stage 2 hypertension >=160 >=100
Other complications of untreated high blood pressure are:

- Congestive heart failure, enlarged heart, and heart attacks
- Blood circulation problems
- Kidney diseases including kidney failure
- Strokes

A stroke is the destruction of brain tissue caused by disruption of the flow of blood to the brain. Typical causes of a stroke are the narrowing of artery walls by fatty buildup or a blood clot. The reduction of normal blood flow can also be caused by infections and/or drugs. Signs of a stroke (also known as a ‘brain attack’) can include:

- Sudden weakness, numbness or paralysis, usually on one side of the body
- Sudden severe headache
- Sudden loss of vision or unexplained dizziness
- Loss of balance
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

Prevention is the best form of treatment from a stroke. This includes preventing more strokes from happening in someone who has already had one. One of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of stroke is taking asprin 325mg a day (regular or coated). Aspirin has been proven a major help in the prevention of the forming of blood clots.