Timothy L. McNeill
Richmond Community College
Hypertension is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. Blood pressure is summarized in by two measurements, systolic and diastolic, which depend on whether the heart is muscle is contracting (systole) or relaxed between beats (diastole). Normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 100-140mmHg systolic (top reading) and 60-90mmHg diastolic (bottom reading). High blood pressure is said to present if it is often at or above 140/90 mmHg. For most cases of mild to moderate hypertension there are no symptoms. The condition has earned the nickname the “silent killer” since the disease shows no symptoms until it progresses to a stage where permanent damage and severe problems such as heart attacks and strokes can occur. Some people with mild to moderate hypertension experience headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and shortness of breath. Other possible symptoms include irregular heartbeat, fatigue, and impotence. In severe cases of hypertension a person can experience painful headaches, confusion, hallucinations, vision problems, nausea, and vomiting. People may show signs of symptoms of hypertension without showing additional symptoms of underlying conditions. Because the majority of hypertension cases are primary, meaning that there is no clearly identifiable cause, an underlying condition such as kidney failure or tumors may go unnoticed unless other symptoms are present or unless the patient is required to undergo preventative testing. Hypertension affects certain demographic groups more than others. Studies reveal that the disease occurs at higher rates among populations of older African-American females. In general Hypertension 3
African-Americans are at higher risk for the disease. The reasons for this trend are generally unknown but...
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