Hypertension

Overview

Find information and advice on hypertension and high blood pressure causes, symptoms and treatment.

What is hypertension?

Your blood pressure is the pressure within your blood vessels. Hypertension is a condition where the pressure within your arteries is consistently too high.

Causes of hypertension

Most hypertension has no known cause, but about 5% of hypertension can be traced to underlying diseases, such as kidney disorders or conditions that cause narrowing of the arteries of the kidney.

Diagnosing hypertension

Hypertension is diagnosed only after several careful measurements show that the systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure is consistently above normal.

Symptoms of hypertension

Essential hypertension, which accounts for 95% of all cases of hypertension, rarely has any symptoms.

Risk factors for hypertension

Here are a few examples of people who have a major risk of developing hypertension, followed by complications and organ damage due to high blood pressure: smokers, diabetics, people over 50, overweight people.

Treating hypertension

Treatment will consist of lifestyle changes for all patients, plus medication (most often starting with more than one drug, and progressing to three) for most patients.

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Ask the Expert

Hypertension expert

Dr Jacomien de Villiers qualified as a specialist physician at the University of Pretoria in 1995. She worked at various clinics at the Department of Internal Medicine, Steve Biko Hospital, these include General Internal Medicine, Hypertension, Diabetes and Cardiology. She has run a private practice since 2001, as well as a consultant post at the Endocrine Clinic of Steve Biko Hospital.

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