I want to believe high blood pressure is not a new word; you could have heard it so many times, but what does it mean, and what are the causes and ways to prevent and manage it?

Simply put, high blood pressure is a persistently increasing blood pressure above 140/90 mmHg.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 1.28 billion people between the ages of 39 and 79 suffer from hypertension.

Only less than 42% are diagnosed and are on treatment, and only about 21% of people with hypertension are under control, which is one of the major causes of death worldwide.

Untreated hypertension puts the patient at risk of heart attack, stroke,

Signs and symptoms of hypertension

Hypertension, they said, is a silent killer because most people with hypertension are not even aware of it. Many get to find it accidentally through check-ups in the hospital.

These symptoms usually appear when the condition has worsened (180/120 mmHg or higher). Though hypertension is usually asymptomatic, the following are some of the signs and symptoms to experience:



Shortness of breath


Change in vision



Increase in heart

Risk factors for high blood pressure

There are many causes of blood pressure, and they are divided into two categories: non-modifiable risk factors and modifiable risk factors.

  • Non-modifiable risk factors: risk factors include:

Age: the risk of having high blood pressure increases with age.

Sex: men are more prone to high blood pressure than men.

Race: High blood pressure is more common among black and white people. Family history: a person with a history of hypertension in the family is more likely to develop it later in life. A constant check-up as one gets older is very important.

They are called non-modifiable risk factors because they cannot be changed.

  • Modifiable risk factors: risk factors include

Obesity or overweight: people who are obese or overweight are at high risk of getting hypertension. Obesity:  For people who are obese, engaging in moderate amounts of exercise to reduce weight can help lower their blood pressure

Sedentary life: people who usually exercise or stand in one place may, as a result of the nature of their work, such as bankers, tailors, and drivers, be more likely to develop hypertension as a result of a lack of exercise.

Smoking: Tobacco smoking increases the risk of hypertension. It hardens the blood vessels. Drinking: excess consumption of tobacco increases the risk of high blood pressure, particularly in men.

Salt intake: too much salt intake increases the risk of hypertension.

Stress: stress increases the blood pressure.

Pregnancy: in some pregnancies, the blood pressure may increase, and this is called gestational hypertension. In most cases, the blood pressure will return to normal but sometimes does not.

Low potassium: potassium balances the salt in the body.

Others include health challenges like diabetes, kidney disease, etc.

Just like the name implies, they can be modified or changed. It involves lifestyle modification.

Classification of hypertension

Normal BP: 120/80 mmHg

Prehypertension: 120–139/80–89 mmHg

Stage 1: 140-159/90-99 mmHg

Stage 2: < 160/100 mmHg

The one at the numerator is called a system, while the one at the denominator is called diastolic.

Types of hypertension

Primary hypertension (also called essential hypertension): primary hypertension has no identifiable cause. It has developed over the years.

Secondary hypertension: this type of hypertension is usually caused by an identifiable cause. Examples of other health conditions that can cause secondary hypertension include:

Congenital heart disease (present at birth)

Kidney disease

Sleep apnea

Thyroid problem


Others include drugs such as contraceptives, pain relievers, and illegal drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines.


  • Regular exercise
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Avoid alcohol consumption
  • Reduce weight for those who are obese
  • Regular checks for the elderly and those who have a family history of hypertension

Treatment and management

Hypertension is not something that you can treat once and for all, and it will involve constant management and checkups. You are not supposed to stop taking your medication without your doctor’s awareness.

The following are some of the classes of antihypertensive drugs used in the management of hypertension:

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs): lisinopril, enalapril

Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs): losartan, telmisartan

Calcium channel blockers (CCB): nifedipine, amlodipine, and felodipine

Diuretics: spironolactone, hydrochlorothiazide, chlorthalidone

Mechanism of action

ACIs inhibit the conversion of angiotensin 1 to angiotensin 2 which is a potent vasoconstrictor

ARBs block the angiotensin receptors and prevent the action of angiotensin 2

CCB acts by blocking the calcium channels, which prevents further release of calcium

Diuretics act by different mechanism to cause the elimination of water and salt in the body

How to Check Your Blood Pressure

Checking your blood pressure is not a one-time thing; you need to check from time to time if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure.

If you are over forty years old, you need to check your blood pressure, as it is one of the risk factors.


Always check your blood pressure regularly; you can have the machine at home to check it.

Avoid salt intake and excess consumption of fried and fatty food

In case of emergency, go to the hospital and see your doctor


High blood pressure requires long-term management; therefore, it is very important to check it regularly and also take your drugs at the right time.

If you are taking any diuretics, ensure to take them early in the morning as they will make you have a lot of urine, but if you take them early, the effect could be reduced before you go to bed.






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