Well, in summary, this has been a rather long
talk about hypertension because this is an
extraordinarily important topic.
The definition is generally blood pressure
of 140/90 or greater. In elderly patients,
we allow a little more room: 150/90 is acceptable
or if the patient is already using high blood
The mechanisms are neural and hormonal. And
we worked our way through there.
That is a very complicated series of control of
blood pressure between the brain and the arterial
receptors that are measuring blood pressure
and the kidney and the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone
system. And often the mechanisms are set a
little too high in patients who have genetic
forms of hypertension, which is a very large
part of the population.
Complications can be very nasty: cardiac arrhythmias,
kidney failure, stroke, dementia, heart attacks,
blindness from retinopathy and diffuse blood-vessel
And the therapy consists of lifestyle changes:
weight loss, control of sodium, regular exercise
as well as very effective medications that
help to control and decrease vascular resistance
and thereby decrease hypertension.