The 4 Stages of Hypertension!! Which stage are you in??

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Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBSGeneral Physician, 6+ Years
Published On : 16-Apr-2022Read Time : 4 minutes
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Suffering from high blood pressure? You are not alone! 

About 33% of the urban population and 25% of the rural population in India suffer from hypertension. Living with hypertension can be challenging, but knowing about the different hypertension stages and their management can help you tackle it easily.

Contents:
  • What is Hypertension?
  • Symptoms of Hypertension
  • Know Your Readings and the Classification of Hypertension
  • 4 Different Stages of High Blood Pressure
  • What is a Hypertensive Crisis?
  • What is Primary and Secondary Hypertension?
  • How to Manage Hypertension?
  • Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • FAQs

What is Hypertension?

A blood pressure reading that is consistently higher than normal is considered high blood pressure or hypertension. The optimal blood pressure range is 120/80 mm Hg, and anything above this is considered to be high. 

Symptoms of Hypertension

If you have high blood pressure, generally you might not experience any symptoms. However, you may show any of the following symptoms as a result of high blood pressure

  • Headaches
  • Nose bleeds
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blurred vision 
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations

Know Your Readings and the Classification of Hypertension

Blood pressure is measured with the help of an instrument called a sphygmomanometer. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The top or the first number of your blood pressure reading refers to the systolic pressure, which indicates the pressure in your arteries while your heart beats. The second number or the bottom number is the diastolic pressure which indicates the pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest. 

Generally, as an adult, your blood pressure is considered to be high when your systolic blood pressure is greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg and when your diastolic blood pressure is greater than or equal to 90 mm Hg. 

What Are the 4 Different Stages of Blood Pressure?

Normal 

The first stage of hypertension is referred to as the normal stage where your systolic blood pressure will be less than 120 mm Hg and the diastolic blood pressure will be less than 80 mm Hg. Though at this stage your blood pressure readings are normal, it is important to follow a heart-healthy lifestyle and monitor your blood pressure at regular intervals.

Elevated

At the second stage of hypertension, your systolic blood pressure readings will consistently range from 120 to 129 mm Hg, and your diastolic blood pressure readings will be less than 80 mm Hg. This is considered elevated blood pressure and if you fall into this category, then you are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure or hypertension. Therefore it is essential that you take the necessary precautionary measures to avoid the possibility.

Hypertension Stage 1

At the third stage or in hypertension stage 1, your systolic blood pressure consistently ranges between 130 to 139 mm Hg, and your diastolic blood pressure would be between 80 to 89 mm Hg. This stage is considered high blood pressure and your doctor will advise lifestyle modifications and start medications, based on your risk of developing complications such as cardiovascular conditions

Hypertension Stage 2

At the fourth stage or at hypertension stage 2, your blood pressure will constantly range around 140/90 mm Hg or higher. At this stage, your doctor will most likely recommend a combination of blood pressure medications and lifestyle modifications.

What is a Hypertensive Crisis?

A hypertensive crisis is a condition where there is a severe increase in your blood pressure. Here your blood pressure readings exceed 180/120 mm Hg. This can cause considerable damage to your blood vessels. They can get inflamed and may leak fluid or blood. The causes include missing your blood pressure medications, conditions such as heart attack or stroke, heart or kidney failure, and rupture of the aorta (the main artery that carries blood away from your heart). Hypertensive crisis is of two types:

Hypertensive Urgency

Here your blood pressure would be high but there is a minimal risk of any damage to your organs. Therefore, this condition does not require hospitalization. Your doctor may just add or change the dosage of your medications.

Hypertensive Emergency

Here you may experience associated symptoms of target organ damage such as chest pain, vision problems, shortness of breath, back pain, or difficulty in speaking. If you experience these symptoms along with high blood pressure, make sure you seek immediate medical attention.

What is Primary and Secondary Hypertension?

Primary Hypertension

Primary or essential hypertension develops over years and the exact cause of it is unknown. A number of factors such as genetics, lifestyle, age, and diet are believed to play a role in increasing the risk of primary hypertension.

Secondary Hypertension

Secondary hypertension mostly occurs due to an underlying cause. It includes conditions such as kidney disorders, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid problems, and adrenal gland disorders.

How to Manage Hypertension?

The following lifestyle modifications will help you manage hypertension:

  • Have a healthy, balanced diet
  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Manage a healthy weight
  • Increase your physical activity
  • Manage stress
  • Avoid smoking
  • Limit alcohol
  • Monitor your blood pressure regularly
  • Consult and follow your doctor’s advice regularly

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • As an adult, your blood pressure is considered to be high when your systolic (the first number) blood pressure is greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg and when your diastolic (the second number) blood pressure is greater than or equal to 90 mm Hg. 
  • The 4 stages of hypertension include normal (<120/80 mm Hg, elevated, hypertension stage 1 (>130/80 mm Hg), and hypertension stage 2 (>140/90 mm Hg).
  • A hypertensive crisis is a condition where there is a severe increase in your blood pressure. Here your blood pressure readings exceed 180/120 mm Hg. This causes damage to your blood vessels.
  • Primary or essential hypertension develops over years and the exact cause of it is unknown. Secondary hypertension mostly occurs due to an underlying cause. It includes conditions such as kidney disorders, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid problems, and adrenal gland disorders.
  • Hypertension can be effectively managed with the right lifestyle modifications and medications, as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India's leading cardiologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate BP monitors and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Hypertension Management program which provides ‎360º care. Let's treat low/high blood pressure problems together.

Frequently Asked Questions

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