High Blood Pressure – Risks, Treatments, and Medical Research


High blood pressure is also known as hypertension, and it is a condition that affects millions each year. If left alone, hypertension can significantly decrease a person’s quality of life. Among other things, it increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and aneurysms. All of those things can be fatal, or at the very least life changing events.

Research on hypertension focuses on narrowing down the overwhelming majority of cases for which a discernible medical cause for the hypertension is not known. It is estimated that in upwards of eighty five percent of cases, while high blood pressure is noted, it is unable to be traced back to a medical condition causing it. This makes the treatment of high blood pressure a far less exact science that it could otherwise be.

There are a few known causes of hypertension. One of these is kidney disease. Your kidneys act as scrubbers for your blood, removing toxins and garbage from the blood and passing them out of your body. When kidneys begin malfunctioning, the garbage and toxins can build up in the blood. Simple liquid dynamics say that if the same amount of liquid is forced through an increasingly narrow channel, the pressure of that liquid will go up. This is essentially what happens when kidneys start to fail; the garbage builds up on the walls of blood vessels, pressure.

While this is one example of what researchers call secondary hypertension, it is a relatively small slice of the overall case load. Far more cases are dubbed primary hypertension, which has no discernible cause. The best remedy in those cases is for scientists to prescribe medication designed to lower blood pressure.

However, when looking at the kidney failure case, the blood pressure problem could be far more directly solved by going after the root cause, of which hypertension is merely a symptom. For as many as ninety five percent of cases, the primary cause is unknown, and scientists are left treating the symptom. Given the harsh side effects associated with blood pressure medication, this is a less than ideal situation to be in.