Diagnosis, causes and risk factors
Recent guidelines recommend a definition of hypertension as “ a blood pressure recording of above 140/90 mmHg (millimetres of mercury).” This would be based on at least two separate readings, at different times.
A 24- hour ambulatory blood pressure recording would give reliable information about the blood pressure, if there was any doubt about readings obtained in the doctor’s surgery, or if “white-coat hypertension” is present.
Malignant hypertension is defined as being at a level of greater than 200/140 mmHg.
The causes of hypertension, in 90% of cases, are unknown, and this is known as “essential hypertension”. However, several risk factors thought to be associated with hypertension are: genetic factors, race, gender, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and high salt, alcohol, and fat intake.
”Secondary hypertension” occurs in a small number of people, and the main causes are : kidney disease, adrenal gland disease, narrowing,( or coarctation) of the aorta, pregnancy, and various medications.