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What is hypertension?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the fluid pressure generated by the heart's pumping action is too high for the body's needs.

Hypertension puts a strain on the heart and may gradually damage the small blood vessels in heart, brain, kidneys and eyes. Hypertension may be a result of disorders and diseases of the kidneys, the circulation, brain, tumors of the adrenal glands and arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). However, a specific cause is found in only about 1 out of 10 cases. Most other cases, where the cause is unknown, are described as essential hypertension.

To some extent, the tendency to hypertension may be hereditary. It is more common in men over forty. In those cases where hypertension is the result of a known cause, treatment involves correcting or relieving the cause. In essential hypertension, overweight patients are put on an appropriate diet and special anti-hypertensive drugs are prescribed, together with life-style review.

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