Typically, people suffering from hypertension do not get any symptoms. As a result people are unaware that they have this health problem and therefore, do not consult a doctor. In fact, most people are unaware that they are suffering from hypertension until the doctor measures their blood pressure in a routine physical checkup.
However, there are some people who have severe hypertension can develop certain symptoms, such as headaches, blurry vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, pain in the chest and shortness of breath. However, majority of people suffering from hypertension end up suffering from organ damage due to constantly elevated blood pressure and this brings about certain symptoms. It is only then that these people visit a doctor. Some of the health problems that arise due to chronic hypertension include heart attack, heart failure, stroke, renal failure, progressive loss of vision, and aneurysm.
Diagnosis of hypertension is done with the help of special machine to measure blood pressure. This machine is known as sphygmomanometer. Usually, blood pressure is taken during a regular physical examination and if the person has a systolic pressure of 140 to 159 mmHg and diastolic pressure of 90 to 99 mmHg, it is known as Stage I hypertension; whereas if the systolic pressure is over 160 mmHg and diastolic pressure is over 100 mmHg, it is known as Stage II hypertension. Once the blood pressure is recorded, the doctor may request for blood tests to check whether the patient has a risk of developing heart disease or suffering from stroke. In addition, cholesterol test, ultrasound of the kidneys and a CT scan of adrenal glands and kidneys may be done to rule out problems with these organs.
Depending upon how severe the hypertension is, the doctor may order a battery of other tests, such electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and Doppler ultrasound.
Once hypertension has been diagnosed, the doctor will then prescribe a course of treatment to control the pressure. This is done through diet, loss of weight, making changes to lifestyle habits and possibly medications. Usually, medications are prescribed if the hypertension is severe. Medications may include diuretics, Beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, vasodilators, and angiotensin receptor blockers. However, the doctor will lay more emphasis on controlling blood pressure through regular exercise to reduce weight, stoppage of smoking and drinking alcohol, eating more vegetables and fruits, and reducing salt and saturated fat intake. If these methods of controlling blood pressure do not succeed, the doctor will then try the next level of treatment, which is medication.
Invariably, as the person ages, the treatment also changes and usually the person ends up being put on some or the other medication with dietary restrictions.
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