Health Library: Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Last updated: March 18, 2021

When an individual suffers from high blood pressure, the arteries are exposed to too much pressure involving the heart and the circulatory system. Hypertension is the term used when this condition persists for any length of time. Over time, the continued strain and overworking of these systems can lead to the damage of the heart and other bodily organs. The risk for high blood pressure increases with age, but the disease can also occur in children. Regular monitoring of blood pressure can help identify the onset of pre-hypertension, which can be controlled before high blood pressure develops.

There are two classes of hypertension: primary and secondary. Primary hypertension, also known as Essential hypertension, is not attributed to an underlying disease but is rather caused by lifestyle factors, such as a mismanaged diet, lack of exercise, stress and obesity. Secondary hypertension can be directly linked to another disease, such as an Endocrine system malfunction like Diabetes Mellitus. With the secondary type, high blood pressure can be resolved when the underlying condition has been addressed.

Hypertension is considered a dangerous medical condition, because it can negatively affect individuals without presenting any obvious symptoms. Damage to important bodily organs and systems, like blood vessels can accumulate over time, and may lead to serious health complications. If hypertension goes untreated, it progresses to potentially fatal health conditions like stroke, eye problems, kidney failure and heart failure. Only about 30% of people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure are treated for it, resulting in an increased prevalence and a potential source of cardiovascular disease and other related chronic health conditions.

There are certain risk factors associated with the development of high blood pressure. Some of the predisposing factors like being overweight, having a sedentary lifestyle, salty diet, drinking alcohol and smoking can be controlled. However, some pre-existing factors like age, family history and African-Caribbean heritage, may also contribute to high blood pressure as well. Knowing one's genetic proclivity towards hypertension can go a long way towards prevention.

While hypertension usually affects people during adulthood, the health condition can also occur in children. When high blood pressure develops in children, it is referred to as Pediatric Hypertension. Though less than one in a hundred children have severe high blood pressure, the incidence is commonly attributed to renal, nervous, heart and endocrine problems. The management of pediatric hypertension is often similar but not limited in scope to the therapies suggested for adults, including a managed diet, exercise, weight control and some medications.

Center for disease control and prevention: High blood pressure

This organization connects patients and physicians in the southeast with the best health care options for hypertension.

International Pediatric Hypertension Association

This network promotes the connection of pediatric doctors across the world and educates physicians, patients and the public about hypertension amongst children.

Hypertension clinic

The University of Rochester Medical Center provides a clinic to help patients achieve healthy blood pressure readings through holistic methods, and the ingestion of as little medication as possible.

The Association for Research into Arterial Structure and Physiology promotes the exchange of research and information regarding arterial health.

Hypertension control

The National Center of Biotechnology Information provides its guidelines for hypertension control.

Hypertension and Vascular Research Division

The Henry Ford Health System developed this division to research and better understand the connection between renal and cardiovascular disease and their systems.

Hypertension — Symptoms, tests, and treatments

Boston Children's Hospital recognizes the increasing prevalence of hypertension amongst children, and provides pediatric care for children in the Boston and Peabody regions.

American Society of Hypertension

The American Society of Hypertension specializes in the research of complex hypertension cases, and views hypertension as only part of a larger manifestation of disease.

Diet and hypertension

This website focuses on using diet to help lower high blood pressure.

Hypertension and Vascular Research Center

The Wake Forest School of Medicine specializes in applying cutting edge research and methods to hypertension cases and doctor training.

Living with diabetes: High blood pressure

The American Diabetes Association details the special risks that diabetics are exposed to when they have high blood pressure. It offers some basic ways to prevent and manage high blood pressure.

Hypertension and pre-hypertension

Here, the DASH diet is used to help lower high blood pressure. Recipes, books and links to other resources are offered.

The Illinois Department of Public Health offers a simple, but resourceful page about hypertension, its causes, risk factors, and symptoms.

Here, federal guidelines regarding the diagnosis of hypertension are detailed.

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

This organization focuses on heart health.

Pulmonary hypertension

The University of Iowa offers its own hypertension clinic, which has specialized research and treatment options.

Cardio smart

The American College of Cardiology has an initiative to educate and empower hypertension patients. It offers interactive tools.

Primary pulmonary hypertension

This website describes the disorder of primary pulmonary hypertension, a lung disorder linked to high blood pressure.

High blood pressure in children

The special concerns regarding high blood pressure in children are discussed here. Symptoms, causes, detection, and management options are also outlined.

Hypertension in cats

High blood pressure in cats is discussed here by the Feline Health Center.

Hypertension (pediatric)

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital details primary and secondary hypertension disorders in children.

Cochrane Hypertension Group

This organization empowers hypertension patients by providing them with the latest reviews on high blood pressure treatments.

Diet and disease: Hypertension

Here, hypertension treatments are discussed, with a special emphasis on lifestyle modifications, including diet.

Hypertension treatment and care

Several resources are listed here, providing more information about the management of high blood pressure. Medications, lifestyle modifications and self-care are discussed.

A clear and simple definition of high blood pressure is offered here.

Medline plus's hypertension

An encyclopedic discussion of hypertension is provided here, including prognosis, references and listings of possible complications.

Cedars-Sinai offers a hub of high blood pressure resources for patients, physicians and researchers.

See also our guide to a health heart for plenty of advice on heart health.

This page was written by on Oct 19, 2015.
This page was last reviewed and updated by on Sep 12, 2019.