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High blood pressure

High blood pressure also known as hypertension is a very common causes of heart disease and stroke in the United Kingdom. Importantly, it is easy to diagnose and to treat.

 

Symptoms
Most people with high blood pressure do not have any symptoms.  Those who do have symptoms may experience some of the following:

  • Headache

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest discomfort

  • Blurred vision

 

Causes
In most cases, the cause of high blood pressure cannot be identified.  There are a number of environmental reasons why someone may contribute  to or even develop high blood pressure and these include having a stressful life (family, work, money and health), unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, diet high in salt and low in fruit in vegetables, excessive alcohol intake, lack of exercise, obesity and obstructive sleep apnoea.

 

Other causes include
Abnormalities of the blood vessel (coarctation of the aorta,

renal artery stenosis)
Normalities of function balance of some of the bodies hormones

 

Investigations
The following investigations can be undertaken to identify potential causes of high blood pressure:

 

Blood tests to look for kidney function and assessment of hormone status
Urine tests
Chest X-ray to assess the lungs and assess the size of the heart

ECG or electrocardiogram is an electrical reading of the heart that is performed by placing electrode stickers on the skin of the chest wall.
Ultrasound of the heart or echocardiogram is a test used to assess the structure and function of the heart.  This will determine whether the heart is squeezing or stretching ability is inhibited by the high blood pressure
Cardiac MRI can be performed to have a detailed assessment of the heart’s structure and function.

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