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What is Central Hypertension?

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  • Written By: J.M. Willhite
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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Central hypertension is a serious medical condition that occurs in the presence of increased arterial blood pressure. A commonly diagnosed condition in adults of mid to advanced age, individuals often remain asymptomatic, meaning they exhibit no symptoms at all, as the condition develops. It is only as the untreated arterial pressure increases that it may place an individual at risk for additional health issues, including stroke, cardiovascular conditions, and metabolic syndrome. Treatment regularly involves the implementation of lifestyle changes and may necessitate the use of medication to stabilize and maintain healthy blood pressure.

Blood pressure is generally measured with an adjustable arm cuff outfitted with a gauge that evaluates blood flow and pressure via the application of a unit of pressure known as millimeters of mercury, or mmHG. Pressure readings are twofold in the evaluation of one’s systolic and diastolic pressures. Each value is utilized to give meaning to the recorded measurements of arterial blood pressure in relation to the beating of one's heart. Taken together, these numbers serve to evaluate one’s overall arterial blood pressure. Depending on when an individual seeks treatment, aside from a normal reading, his or her blood pressure may fall into one of three distinct categories utilized to diagnose hypertension.

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Those whose systolic blood pressure falls just below 139 and diastolic pressure registers less than 89 is considered to be a likely candidate for hypertension. When one’s systolic pressure falls between 140 to 159 and diastolic measures 90 to 99, he or she is diagnosed as having stage one hypertension. Any readings that exceed those of stage one qualify as stage two, or more advanced, hypertension.

In most cases, there is no single, identifiable cause for the development of central hypertension. Also known simply as hypertension, this condition may be triggered by a variety of contributing factors that taken as a whole may compromise arterial function leading to increased pressure. It has been asserted that poor self-care over many years may induce central hypertension. Obesity, advanced age, poor diet and a lack of regular exercise most frequently trigger the long-term adverse effects that contribute to central hypertension.

An acute onset of central hypertension is generally induced by the regular use of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, which may adversely affect one’s blood pressure, causing artificial fluctuations. Lifestyle factors, including risky behaviors such as recreational drug use, smoking, and alcoholism, may also contribute to the development of increased arterial blood pressure and central hypertension. Medical conditions, such as compromised renal function and certain congenital conditions affecting arterial formation, may also trigger the sudden onset of hypertension.

Chronically elevated blood pressure is one of those medical conditions that generally do not induce symptoms until its latter stages when additional health concerns manifest. Some who develop central hypertension may experience red flags or symptoms that let them know something is wrong. During its initial stages, hypertension may cause an individual to experience dizziness or persistent headaches that present as a dull throbbing.

If uncontrolled or left untreated, central hypertension can lead to the development of complications that may include heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Some individuals may possess an increased risk for aneurysm or stroke if their hypertension is the result of advanced arterial constriction as associated with atherosclerosis. Other issues that may arise in the presence of elevated arterial pressure include impaired cognition, compromised renal function, and blindness.

The goal of any hypertension treatment is based on the stabilization and proper management of one's blood pressure over the long term. Some may experience blood pressure stabilization with simple lifestyle changes, including weight loss, dietary changes, and regular exercise, which work to eliminate one's risk factors and lower arterial blood pressure. In addition to lifestyle changes, others may require the use of medications, including beta-blockers, diuretics, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, to ease cardiovascular pressure, lessen water retention, and alleviate arterial stress. If it is found that one's hypertension is caused by the presence of an underlying condition, such as atherosclerosis, treatment for the secondary condition will generally play a pivotal role in the development of the individual's long-term treatment plan.

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