Normal blood pressure in adults is considered to be 120/80 mmHg. But do you know what these numbers mean? Probably, not! Blood pressure is expressed in two numbers. The first number or systolic blood pressure – it’s the highest pressure in the blood vessels recorded during cardiac contractions or systole. The second number or diastolic blood pressure – it’s the lowest pressure in the vessels recorded between cardiac contractions (when heart muscle relaxes).
Arterial hypertension is a disease characterized by a persistently high blood pressure that is greater than 140/90 mmHg. This disease affects mainly people over 40 years. But hypertension gets ‘younger’ nowadays meaning it often strikes young people as well (men and women equally).
It is very dangerous to ignore high blood pressure because it increases the risk of life-threatening complications. The higher the arterial blood pressure, the greater is the risk of serious consequences for the heart as well as blood vessels in such important organs as the brain and kidneys. The earlier you detect arterial hypertension, the smaller is the risk of developing complications caused by hypertensive disease in the future
There are two large groups of arterial hypertension:
- Essential arterial hypertension (primary or idiopathic hypertension) – a disease characterized by an increase in arterial pressure which is not caused by any disease of other organs (kidneys, endocrine glands, heart);
- Secondary (symptomatic) arterial hypertension – a disease characterized by increased arterial pressure associated with certain diseases or damages of various organs and systems involved in the process of blood pressure regulation. Thus, secondary hypertension is divided into:
- Renal hypertension - it is caused by glomerulonephritis or pyelonephritis;
- Central hypertension – it can be provoked by brain damage;
- Hemodynamic hypertension – it is caused by the lesions of the aorta or aortic valve;
- Pulmonary hypertension – it results from by chronic lung diseases;
- Endocrine hypertension – it is associated with the diseases of the thyroid or adrenal glands.
There are 3 severity stages of hypertension:
- Stage 1 – a light form of hypertension.
Systolic pressure is in the range between 140 and 159 mmHg. Diastolic blood pressure – between 90 and 99 mmHg. Stage 1 hypertension is characterized by abrupt changes in blood pressure. It can return to its normal numbers without any reason and then rise again.
- Stage 2 – a moderate hypertension.
Systolic blood pressure ranges from 160 to 179 mmHg, diastolic pressure – from 100 to 109 mmHg. Stage 2 hypertension is characterized by more prolonged rise in arterial pressure, and it rarely drops to its normal numbers.
- Stage 3 – a severe form of hypertension.
Arterial blood pressure is above 180/110 mmHg. In the case of stage 3 hypertension blood pressure remains stable and pathologically high.