What is Hypertension?

What Is Hypertension?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a global disease and a major cause for death. One in every 8 deaths in the world is due to high blood pressure. In India, every fourth adult has high blood pressure. This condition accounts for nearly 1.1 million deaths in India, every year.

High blood pressure is a major health concern, as it can progress into serious conditions such as stroke, coronary heart disease (CHD), and other vascular complications. Hypertension is likely to affect nearly 1/3rd of the Indian population by 2020.

Heart pumps blood throughout the body, via the blood vessels, to supply oxygen and nutrition to various body tissues. This blood exerts a lateral pressure onto the walls of the arteries. This is called blood pressure. The blood pressure is measured in its dual aspect – systolic blood pressure, the pressure exerted by the blood on the artery wall during the contraction of the heart, and diastolic pressure, the pressure applied during the relaxation of the heart.

The ideal blood pressure (systolic/diastolic) is 120/80 mmHg. When the blood pressure elevates above 140/90 mmHg, it is considered as hypertension or high blood pressure. If the blood pressure continues to rise and is not controlled, it can lead to serious consequences such as stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, and vision loss.

Blood pressureHypertension