What is the Most Common Hypertension Pathophysiology?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2018
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The most common hypertension pathophysiology is not known, because the pathophysiology of hypertension is still not fully understood. Hypertension or high blood pressure is a very common medical issue which occurs all over the world, and it is associated with a number of different causes and changes in the body. Sometimes the cause is evident, while in other cases, it may not be clear, or a constellation of medical issues may be contributing to the development of hypertension, which can make it hard to figure out the sequence of events which led to high blood pressure.

Primary or essential hypertension is high blood pressure which occurs without an obvious cause, with over 90% of cases of chronic hypertension falling into this category. Secondary hypertension occurs as a complication of disease, usually renal or adrenal disease. In the case of secondary hypertension, hypertension pathophysiology is very well understood because a series of documentable changes occur in the body and contribute to the development of high blood pressure.

Primary hypertension is trickier. There are some risk factors associated with high blood pressure, including stress, smoking, drinking, poor fitness levels, high salt intake, low potassium intake, age, and family history. The way in which these risk factors act on the body is complex, and hypertension physiology can include a variety of changes to the cardiovascular system.


Cardiac output plays a major role in blood pressure and hypertension pathophysiology; when the heart is not pumping as much blood, blood pressure tends to decline. Likewise, peripheral resistance created in the blood vessels also plays a role in blood pressure. One way to think about this is to imagine water spurting down a hose; if one turns the faucet up, adding more water, the pressure in the hose increases. If the hose has a hole or part of it has weakened, causing the hose to widen, pressure decreases.

Hypertension pathophysiology can involve congenital conditions which affect the cardiovascular system, such as heart abnormalities which reduce the cardiac output, or abnormalities in the parts of the nervous system which play a role in regulating blood pressure. High blood pressure can also be caused by a disease process which impairs some aspect of the body involved in blood pressure regulation, but in some cases, hypertension pathophysiology cannot be identified in a specific patient, with the focus of treatment being on lowering blood pressure, rather than trying to determine and address the cause of high blood pressure.



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Post 6

I find it interesting that doctors don't know that much about the pathophysiology for hypertension when it is such a common problem. It seems like the older I get the more people I know who have high blood pressure keep popping up.

I think that as more of the population gets high blood pressure and the medical expenses start to add up more that the pathophysiology of primary hypertension will really get put under the magnifying glass. I can imagine that with enough research they will fully understand this condition and be able to find better solutions to fixing the problem.

Post 5

I'm afraid my both my diabetes and hypertension are a result of my poor lifestyle over the last few years. Too much extra weight and a lot of junk food have landed me in a bad spot that I am now trying to fix. I suppose I thought I was young enough that those sorts of problems wouldn't bother me for many years to come.

It is sad to me after looking into the pathophysiology of hypertension how much of the disease that is understand relates to how badly we are treating our bodies. I wish I had known when I was younger that there were very real consequences to my behavior.

Post 4

I discovered that I had slightly high blood pressure last year. Since it wasn't dangerously high, I decided to try my own hypertension treatment. I thought that if I could lower it by altering my lifestyle, then I wouldn't have to depend on drugs to keep it normal.

I knew that I had very poor eating habits. I ate way too much sodium, and I barely touched fruits and vegetables. Also, since hot weather had set in, I had stopped exercising.

So, I dramatically lowered my sodium intake. I started drinking water and juice instead of soda. I began eating several fruits and vegetables each day.

Since it was too hot outside to go walking or jogging

, I took up swimming. I did it every day, and I enjoyed it.

My blood pressure returned to normal in a few weeks. Also, I felt better than I ever had in my life. I decided to stick with my new routine, because I had discovered a quality of life I didn't even know existed.

Post 3

@Perdido – I know how your father felt about something being wrong inside of him. I started experiencing the same hypertension symptoms, and it freaked me out, too.

At first, I thought maybe I was having panic attacks. My chest felt tight at times, and sometimes it seemed like a heavy weight was placed upon my heart. I couldn't escape a feeling of dread.

Since I have started taking hypertension medication, these bad feelings have gone away. I am relieved to know that it was physical and not psychological, because emotional issues would be harder to treat.

Post 2

I am convinced that my father developed hypertension because of stress. His boss put him through so much at work, and he would come home in such a bad mood every day. He would snap at us for the littlest things, and soon after we noticed this change in his demeanor, his doctor told him he had high blood pressure.

Hypertension causes you to feel anxious, like something is wrong in your body. He started worrying that he might be having heart problems, and that's when he went to his doctor. He was relieved to find out it was treatable.

My dad never knew his parents, so he can't say whether or not hypertension runs in his family. I truly believe that stress was the cause of his, though.

Post 1

I do know what is causing my hypertension. I have polycystic kidney disease, and high blood pressure often goes along with this condition.

Cysts form on my kidneys, and they slow down the flow of blood through the organs. People with this condition often wind up needing dialysis and a transplant at some point in their lives, because the cysts eventually choke out kidney function.

Within two years of finding out I had the disease, I began to develop secondary hypertension. My doctor told me to reduce my sodium intake, and he also gave me medication to treat the high blood pressure.

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