Pathophysiology of Hypertension

Hypertension is a life-threatening condition occasioned by a steep and sudden elevation in blood pressure.  It is classified either as idiopathic or secondary which now affects roughly 78 million Americans (Kasper et al., 2018). While idiopathic hypertension is typically thought to have no definitive explanation for its cause, its secondary counterpart originates from predisposing conditions such as endocrine disorders. Hypertension is now among one of the most severe public health issues and directly linked to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease across the board. 

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Although hypertension involves multiple organ systems, the kidney is central to its pathogenesis. Damage to the renal pressure natriuresis physiological mechanism typically causes a steep rise in sodium and water levels, which eventually reduces blood pressure. The narrowing of the arterioles forces these vessels to contend with an increase in blood pressure, which stresses the heart and often results in death. Hypertension is commonly referred to as the “silent disease” since it usually remains undetected by most people. Dizziness, bloodspots and facial flushing are some of the most common signs of high blood pressure.

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However, the only sure way to establish whether one has developed the condition is to measure the blood pressure with a sphygmomanometer. According to Muruganathan (2016), normal blood pressure is below 120/80, while elevated levels are greater than 130/80 millimeters of mercury (p.21). High blood pressure results in a level of dizziness that sets in after fatigue.  Blood spots also appear as a result of a subconjunctival hemorrhage and have been known to impair the optic nerve. Correspondingly, facial flushing is caused by the widening of facial blood vessels caused by a rise in blood pressure.

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