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Definition of Hypertension

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure and is defined in an adult as blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg systolic pressure and greater than or equal to 90 mm Hg diastolic pressure.

Hypertension sufferers have blood vessels which are constricted, forcing the heart to pump harder. This causes blood to press against the vessel walls with greater force. Fatty deposits may also build up along these walls causing the arteries to harden through a process called atherosclerosis. When this occurs, the heart must work even harder to pump blood through and when blood clots form, the chances of a heart attack or stroke escalate.

Known as a ‘silent killer, hypertension usually has no symptoms causing the sufferer to discover the illness too late. It is advisable to keep a constant check on your blood pressure and ensure you eat and live healthily.

Causes of Hypertension

There are many causes of hypertension, some of which are controllable. If there is a history of early heart attacks or strokes, the risk could be hereditary. Partially inherited risk factors like being predisposed to obesity also leads to hypertension, and lifestyle related factors like eating too much fatty foods, smoking and not doing any exercise is also very common.

To help in lowering blood pressure:

Controllable factors

  • Smoking
  • Eating a balanced diet with lower fat and salt intake
  • Exercise
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Reduce stress
  • Oral contraceptives

Uncontrollable factors

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Heredity
  • Race
  • Diabetes


Medical science has yet to completely comprehend the exact causes of atherosclerosis. Therefore, the best thing to do is try and prevent it by eating right, keeping fit and leading as stress free a life as possible.

Many people still suffer from hypertension even if they lead healthy lives. In these cases medication must be taken to control and lower blood pressure. GSK produces the anti-hypertensive drug lacidipine which comes under the class of Calcium Channel Antagonist.

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