According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one third of the United States population suffers from hypertension. Approximately one fifth are symptom-free and unaware of their diagnosis.
Hypertension is a state of high blood pressure beyond what is considered normal for the individual. When a person's blood pressure is increased, there is a higher risk of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. The narrower the arteries become, the more the heart needs to pump and the higher the blood pressure becomes. Read more in this patient education guide.
There are three main types of hypertension:
|How common||Represents 90-95% of hypertensive people||Represents 5-10% of all high blood pressure cases||
Occurs in nearly 10% of pregnancies
Commonly called preeclampsia
|Cause||No known cause||
Linked to various causes:
||Pregnancy induced, usually occurs after the 20th gestational week.|
Kidneys inadequately manage sodium (which causes fluid retention).
Increased vascular tone (maybe from angiotensin II elevation).
Increase in cardiac output.
Increase in the resistance pushing blood.
Associated with swelling (edema) and significant protein in the urine.
Seen in conjunction with damage to kidneys, liver and lining of blood vessels in the maternal system.
|Treatment||The only treatment is delivery, with the mother usually put on bed rest and a low-salt diet.|
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