A blood pressure of 140/90 or higher is considered high blood pressure. Both numbers are important. If one or both numbers are usually high, you have high blood pressure. If you are being treated for high blood pressure, you still have high blood pressure even if you have repeated readings in the normal range.
There are two levels of high blood pressure: Stage 1 and Stage 2 (see the chart below).
Systolic (Top number)
Diastolic (Bottom number)
Less than 120
Less than 80
High Blood Pressure
160 or higher
100 or higher
Hypertension / High Blood Pressure – CAUSE
Hypertension occurs when arterioles, small blood vessels that branch off from the arteries, become constricted making it difficult for blood to pass through them. As a result, blood pressure rises causing your heart to work harder. If your blood pressure at rest stays at 140/90 or more, you may have hypertension.
Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood pumped by the heart, and the size and condition of the arteries. Many other factors can affect blood pressure, including volume of water in the body; salt content of the body; condition of the kidneys, nervous system, or blood vessels; and levels of various hormones in the body.
“Essential” hypertension has no identifiable cause. It may have genetic factors and environmental factors, such as salt intake or others. Essential hypertension comprises over 95% of all high blood pressure.
“Secondary” hypertension is high blood pressure caused by another disorder. This may include:
adrenal gland tumors Cushing’s syndrome kidney disorders glomerulonephritis (inflammation of kidneys) renal vascular obstruction or narrowing renal failure use of medications, drugs, or other chemicals oral contraceptives hemolytic-uremic syndrome Henoch-Schonlein purpura periarteritis nodosa radiation enteritis retroperitoneal fibrosis Wilms’ tumor other disorders
Hypertension / High Blood Pressure – SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Usually, no symptoms are present. Occasionally, you may experience a mild headache. If your headache is severe, or if you experience any of the symptoms below, you must be seen by a doctor right away. These may be a sign of dangerously high blood pressure (called malignant hypertension) or a complication from high blood pressure.
Raised blood pressure is not a disease in itself. It is just a sign of some underlying disorder. Homeopathy offers good prognosis for cases of essential hypertension. The treatment is based upon the cause and the totality of the case.
Hypertension / High Blood Pressure – CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT
Medications may include diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or alpha blockers. Medications such as hydralazine, minoxidil, diazoxide, or nitroprusside may be required if the blood pressure is very high.
Hypertension / High Blood Pressure – WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
Lifestyle changes may help control high blood pressure:
Lose weight if you are overweight. Excess weight adds to strain on the heart. In some cases, weight loss may be the only treatment needed. Exercise to help your heart. Adjust your diet as needed. Decrease fat and sodium — salt, MSG, and baking soda all contain sodium. Increase fruits, vegetables, and fiber.
Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 14th ed, McGraw-Hill
Davidson’s Principles and Practise of Medicine, 17th ed, 1996, Churchill Livingstone
New Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica & Repertory, William Boericke, 2nd revised ed., 2001, B. Jain