Friday, June 09, 2006

You may have Hypertension

You may not even know that you have hypertension. It is important to catch it early for the sake of your health.

It is recognised that stressful situations can increase the blood pressure; if a normally normotensive patient has a high blood pressure only when being reviewed by a healthcare professional, this is colloquially termed white coat effect. Since most of what we know of hypertension and its outcome with or without modification is based on large series of readings in doctors' offices and clinics (e.g., Framingham), it is difficult to be sure that white-coat hypertension is not significant. Ambulatory monitoring may help determine whether traffic and ticket inspectors produce similar sustained rises.

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Blood pressure is a continuously distributed variable, and the risk of associated cardiovascular disease likewise rises continuously. The point at which blood pressure is defined as hypertension is therefore somewhat arbitrary. Presently finding sustained blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or above, measured on both arms is generally regarded as diagnostic. Because blood pressure readings in many individuals are highly variable — especially in the office setting — the diagnosis of hypertension should be made only after noting a mean elevation on two or more readings on two or more office visits, unless the elevations are severe or associated with compelling indications such as diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, post-myocardial infarction, stroke, and high coronary disease risk.


Hypertension or high blood pressure is a medical condition wherein the blood pressure is chronically elevated. While it is formally called arterial hypertension, the word "hypertension" without a qualifier usually refers to arterial hypertension.