The different ways of saying high blood pressure
Hypertension means high blood pressure, and is the most common cardiovascular risk factor - in other words, the probability of heart attack or stroke. In Italy, according to the most recent statistics, only 35% of people have had this checked, so each year there are many preventable cardiovascular incidents.
High pressure: the silent disease
High blood pressure is a very common medical problem, and can have serious consequences. It is a silent disease, which may be asymptomatic until it is too late and the damage is done. Arterial hypertension can be classified into 2 main families: essential or primary, and secondary. We analyze the differences.
The 2 main types of hypertension: essential and secondary
The first type is essential or primary hypertension, which is the more common, accounting for 90% of cases. Essential hypertension is a mix of environmental and genetic causes that interfere with the heart and arteries. The genetic factors are more important, while the environmental ones are lifestyle related. Among the environmental factors that may lead to high blood pressure are stress, obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, and excessive salt consumption. Avoiding them is a fundamental part of preventing and curing hypertension.
High blood pressure caused by the kidneys
Secondary hypertension is the rarest of the pathologies linked to high blood pressure, and is caused by problems with blood drainage by the kidneys. This type of hypertension represents about 10% of cases, but has the same effects as essential hypertension.
It's possible to live with hypertension for years
Hypertension can also be benign or malignant. In the former case, it remains stable at a moderate level for years or decades. In theory, it is possible to live with benign hypertension for one's entire life, though it does cause an increased risk of heat attack, cardiac insufficiency, and stroke.
Malignant hypertension: serious consequences in 2 years
Malignant hypertension accounts for only 5% of people with high blood pressure and can cause serious complications, including death, in 1 or 2 years. This form of high blood pressure is defined as accelerated or malignant hypertension: it is a medical emergency in which the blood pressure is extremely high and accompanied by a swelling of the optic nerve behind the eye. Patients who have had renal insufficiency are at high risk of malignant hypertension.