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Hypertension is defined as elevated blood pressure that consistently measures above what are considered normal* ranges. Because there are literally symptoms until the damage caused by the condition is extreme (irreparable organ damage, hardening of the arteries) or it leads to a stroke or heart attack, congestive heart failure, bulging or ruptured arteries, it is often known as the “silent killer.” In the United States, as many as 43 million people are living with high blood pressure, almost 1 out of ever 3 have no idea they have the condition.

*Blood pressure measured below 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) is considered normal. A person with a measurement at or above 140/90 mm Hg on a consistent basis is  considered to have high blood pressure.


As mentioned above, there are no symptoms associated with hypertension. Symptoms only occur when the patient develops complications as a result of hypertension. These can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Buzzing noise in the ear
  • Dizziness
  • Facial flushing
  • Headaches
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting

Risk Factors for Hypertension

Primary hypertension has no known cause in almost 90 percent of the cases. However, it can be caused by many of the same risk factors that cause other vascular conditions, including:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Being African American
  • Males over 45
  • Females over 55
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Lack of exercise

Secondary hypertension is caused by a separate medical condition or by taking certain medication. In this case there are circumstances that can contribute to the condition, including:

When high blood pressure occurs because of a medical condition or medication, it is referred to as secondary. Factors that may contribute to secondary hypertension include:

  • Adrenal gland tumor(s)
  • Being pregnant
  • Blocked blood flow in arteries leading to kidneys
  • Congenital defect in the aorta
  • Hormonal disorder(s)
  • Kidney disease
  • Overactive thyroid gland
  • Use of:
    • Alcohol
    • Corticosteroids
    • Oral contraceptives

Treating Hypertension

As with many other vascular conditions, physicians will prescribe healthy lifestyle changes (no smoking, losing weight, regular exercise and diet regimen, moderate to no alcohol consumption, etc.). If this first line of defense does not ease the condition, there are medications that will help lower the blood pressure to a safe level. There are a variety of medications that can be described depending on several factors.

Conditions & Treatments



Vascular Institute of New York
960 50th Street
Borough Park

Brooklyn, NY 11219
Phone: 718-438-3800
Fax: 718-438-3131

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