Hypertension is the persistent elevation of blood pressure in the arteries. This state can be periodic or permanent, and occurs when the internal pressure is permanently above 140/85 at rest. The so-called “silent killer” hypertension produces no symptoms for the first fifteen years and goes unnoticed if blood pressure is not controlled. Only in advanced cases of hypertension, and not always, do symptoms such as severe headache, blood from the nose, dizziness, rapid breathing, flushing of the face, fainting, and ringing in the ears occur.

Although there are no symptoms, excessive blood pressure can cause damage to the arteries and therefore to the heart, kidneys and brain: heart attacks, kidney failure and cerebrovascular accidents known as cerebral hemorrhages; and reduces the life from ten to twenty years. Hypertension usually occurs in the elderly and obese people, the cause of this disease in the vast majority of cases is idiopathic or of unknown origin. Secondary hypertension can be the result of chronic kidney disease, certain hormonal disorders, and in some women, pregnancy or taking oral contraceptives.

Although the causes of essential hypertension are unknown, research suggests one possibility: that a gradual increase in blood volume accompanies the slow rise in pressure. A certain inherited deficiency of the kidneys to excrete excess salt ingested through food causes this increase in blood volume. This could explain why hypertension recurs within the same family. The child of a parent with high blood pressure is twice as likely to develop the disease as a child of parents with normal pressure.

When hypertension is not detected early, or is not treated properly, it can become a fatal disease. If someone discovers that they have high blood pressure, they should reduce their salt intake, if it is high; you should lose weight, if you are obese, and stop smoking. The doctor in most cases prescribes the patient medications that relax the blood vessels and allow the pressure to drop, also diuretics that reduce salt and water in the body; and others that decrease the action of the nerves of the sympathetic system, which cause the arteries to narrow.