High Blood Pressure: Overview, Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, and More


High blood pressure measures how much blood is moving through your blood vessel and how hard it is for the blood flow while your heart is pumping. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, happens when the blood pushes too hard against your vessels all the time. So in this article we’ll talk about the basics of hypertension including its symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment. For more research you can also visit Wikipedia. 

What is High Blood Pressure?

Narrow blood vessels, called arteries, make it harder for blood to flow. So the narrower your arteries are the harder it is for blood to pass through and the higher your BP will be. Over time, this higher pressure can cause health problems like heart disease. It is very common. Since guidelines changed in 2017, almost half of American adults can be diagnosed with it. Hypertension usually develops over many years and often doesn’t show any symptoms. Even without symptoms it can damage your blood vessels and organs especially your brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys. Finding hypertension early is important. So regular blood pressure checks can help you and your doctor see any changes. If your BP is high your doctor might ask you to check for a few weeks to see if it stays high or goes back to normal. Treatment for hypertension includes taking medicine and making healthy lifestyle changes. If it’s not treated it can lead to serious health problems like heart attacks and strokes.

How to Understand High Blood Pressure Readings?

A BP reading has two numbers. The top number, systolic pressure, shows the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats and pumps blood. The bottom number, diastolic pressure, shows the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats. So there are five categories for adult BP readings:

  • Healthy: Less than 120/80 (mmHg).
  • Elevated: Systolic is between 120-129 mmHg and diastolic is less than 80 mm Hg. Doctors usually suggest lifestyle changes instead of medication for this.
  • Stage 1 Hypertension: Systolic is between 130-139 mm Hg or diastolic is between 80-89 mm Hg.
  • Stage 2 Hypertension: Systolic is 140 mm Hg or higher, or diastolic is 90 mmHg or higher.
  • Hypertension Crisis: Systolic is over 180 mm Hg or diastolic is over 120 mm Hg. This needs medical attention if you have symptoms like chest pain, headaches, asthma, or vision changes, go to the emergency room.

A blood pressure reading is taken with a cuff. To get an accurate reading, the cuff must fit properly. If the cuff is the wrong size, the reading might be wrong.

What are the Causes of High Blood Pressure?

The cause of high blood pressure (hypertension) is often unknown. In many cases, it results from an underlying condition. High blood pressure that isn’t due to another condition is called primary or essential hypertension. When an underlying condition causes it, it’s called secondary high blood pressure. Primary high blood pressure can result from several factors, including:

Essential (Primary) High Blood Pressure:

Essential high BP is also called primary hypertension. This kind of high BP develops over time. Most people have this type of hypertension. A combination of factors typically plays a role in the development of essential (primary) hypertension:

Secondary High Blood Pressure:

Secondary hypertension is caused by another health problem. For example, chronic kidney disease (CKD) often leads to hypertension because the kidney can’t filter out fluid, causing high blood pressure. Hypertension can also lead to CKD. So other conditions that can cause hypertension include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Obstructive sleep insomnia
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Problems with your thyroid
  • Side effects of medications
  • Use of illegal drugs
  • Chronic consumption of alcohol
  • Adrenal gland problems
  • Certain endocrine tumors    
  • Diabetes due to kidney problems and nerve damage
  • Pheochromocytoma, a rare cancer of the adrenal gland
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a disorder of the adrenal glands that secrete cortisol
  • Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid gland
  • Hyperparathyroidism, which affects calcium and phosphorus levels
  • Pregnancy
  • Sleep disorder 

What are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?

Hypertension usually doesn’t cause symptoms. So many people don’t feel anything. It can take years or decades for the condition to get bad enough to show clear symptoms, and even then, these symptoms might be mistaken for other problems. Severe hypertension can include:

  • Flushing
  • Blood spots in the eye (subconjunctival hemorrhage)
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disorders
  • Blushing

The American Heart Association says that, contrary to what many think, severe hypertension usually doesn’t cause nosebleeds or headaches, except in a hypertension crisis. The best way to know if you have hypertension is to get regular BP checks. Most doctors check your blood pressure at every visit. If you only see your doctor once a year, ask about your risk for hypertension and if you need more frequent checks. For example, if you have a family history of heart disease or other risk factors, your doctor might suggest checking your BP twice a year. This helps catch any problems early.

What are the Risk Factors of High Blood Pressure?

So a number of factors increase the risk of hypertension. Such as:

What is the Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure?

Diagnosing hypertension is easy by taking a BP reading. Most doctors check blood pressure during routine visits. If they don’t check yours, you can ask for it. If your blood pressure is high, your doctor might ask you to come back for more readings over several days or weeks. One high reading usually isn’t enough to diagnose hypertension. Your doctor needs to see if the problem continues over time. This is because things like being at the doctor’s office can make your blood pressure go up. BP also changes throughout the day. If your BP stays high your doctor will likely do more tests to see if there’s another cause. These tests might include:

  • Cholesterol and other blood tests
  • An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) to check your heart’s electrical activity
  • An ultrasound of your heart or kidney
  • A home BP monitor to check your blood pressure over 24 hours

So these tests help your doctor find out if something else is causing your hypertension and see how it might be affecting your organs. During this time, your doctor might start treating your high BP. Early treatment can help prevent long-term damage.

What is the Treatment of High Blood Pressure?

Several factors help your doctor decide the best treatment for you. So these factors include the type of hypertension you have and its cause.

Primary High Blood Pressure Treatment:

If your doctor diagnoses you with primary hypertension, making changes to your lifestyle may help lower your blood pressure. If these changes aren’t enough or stop working, your doctor might prescribe medication. So examples of suitable exercise are:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Swimming

Secondary High Blood Pressure Treatment:

If your doctors find another issue causing your hypertension, the treatment will focus on that issue. For example, if a medication you’re taking raises your BP your doctor will try different medications that don’t have this side effect. Sometimes, hypertension stays high even after treating the underlying cause. In this case, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes and prescribe medications to lower your blood pressure. Treatment plans for hypertension can change over time. What works at first might become less effective later. Your doctor will keep adjusting your treatment to find what works best for you. A few relaxation techniques that can help relieves stress are:

  • Meditation
  • Warm bath
  • Yoga
  • Going on long walks


So many people need to try different BP medications to find the right one. Your doctor might need to test various medications or combinations until they find what works best for you. Some of the medications used to treat hypertension include:

  • Beta-blocker
  • Diuretics
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Calcium channel blocker
  • Alpha-2 agonists
  • Central agonists
  • Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors
  • Vasodilators
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers  

What is the Complication of High Blood Pressure?

Because hypertension usually doesn’t show any signs, it can harm your body for many years before you notice anything wrong. If you don’t treat high BP, it can lead to very serious or even deadly problems. So here are some complications that high BP can cause.

  • Damage arteries
  • Damage heart
  • Damage brain
  • Heart failure
  • Arrhythmias
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Heart attack
  • Sudden cardiac death

Uncontrolled high BP can also hurt your memory and make it hard for you to learn, remember things, talk, and think clearly. Treating high BP usually doesn’t fix the damage already done, but it does reduce the risk of more problems in the future.

Which Home Remedies for Managing High Blood Pressure?

Several home remedies, like changing your diet and lifestyle, can help you control high BP and keep your heart healthy. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing from the heart into the arteries. When blood pressure is high, the blood moves through the arteries with more force. This puts more pressure on the delicate tissues in the arteries and can damage the blood vessels. So here are some home remedies for managing high BP. Such as:

  • Start a regular exercise
  • Limit salt
  • Maintain a moderate weight
  • If you smoke, consider quitting
  • Limit alcohol
  • Add in relaxation techniques

Which Foods That Are Good for High Blood Pressure?

So, some healthy foods that help BP. Such as:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Kale
  • Turnip greens
  • Collard greens
  • Spinach
  • Beet greens
  • Swiss chard
  • Berries
  • Red beets
  • Skim milk
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Salmon, mackerel, and fish with omega-3s
  • Seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Garlic and herbs
  • Dark chocolate  
  • Olives
  • Pomegranates


What is the best drink for high blood pressure?

  • Apple juice
  • Beet juice
  • Milk (low fat or fat free)
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Water

Do bananas lower blood pressure?

So bananas are healthy and delicious to help lower BP. They are full of important nutrients like potassium, fiber, and vitamin C, which are good for health. The potassium in bananas helps balance out the sodium in your body, which helps relax your blood vessels.

Is milk good for high blood pressure?

Research suggests that drinking milk can be good for your heart health. A review of nine studies with almost 60,000 people found that drinking just over two cups of milk a day was linked to lower BP.

Which exercise is good for blood pressure?

  • 10 minutes of brisk or moderate walking three times a day
  • 30 minutes a day of biking or stationary cycling or three 10-minutes blocks of cycling
  • Hiking
  • Desk treadmilling or pedal pushing
  • Weight training
  • Swimming

Is rice good for high blood pressure?

Eating a low fat diet with lots of fiber, like wholegrain rice, bread, and pasta, along with plenty of fruits and vegetables also helps lower BP.

How can I lower my BP in 5 minutes?

If your BP suddenly goes up, stop all physical activities, drink some water, lie down flat, and take deep breaths to calm yourself. If your BP doesn’t go down in a few minutes, call your doctor right away.

Which juice reduces BP?

Skim milk: skim milk contains potassium, calcium, and magnesium, minerals that are known to help decrease blood pressure

  • Tomato juice
  • Beet juice
  • Hibiscus tea
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Grapefruit juice      

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