Hypotension vs Hypertension

Written By: Dr Nelson Lau, MBBS FRACGP, General Practitioner and Digital Health Specialist
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Types Of Hypertensions

High blood pressure, known medically as hypertension, can manifest in different forms. The most common is called essential hypertension. It tends to develop slowly over many years, often without a single clear cause. Essential hypertension accounts for the majority of high blood pressure cases in adults. Another form is called secondary hypertension. It is caused by an underlying medical issue and can lead to sudden spikes in blood pressure readings. Things like kidney disorders, certain medications, or other health conditions may trigger secondary hypertension. Finally, some people experience higher readings only in clinical settings, likely due to nerves about visiting the doctor. That phenomenon, termed white coat hypertension, is important to distinguish from chronic high blood pressure, since the treatment methods could be different. These three varieties encompass the range of hypertension types. While their causes and treatments vary, ongoing management is crucial for every patient with elevated blood pressure.

There are 2 stages of hypertension.

Stage 1 Hypertension

When blood pressure readings stay between 130-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic, a patient is considered to have Stage 1 hypertension. Though it elevates heart disease and stroke odds, modified lifestyle or medication can  help to manage their risk.

Stage 2 Hypertension

At 140+ systolic or 90+ diastolic readings, the more severe Stage 2 hypertension sets in. The heightened risk of cardiovascular disease frequently necessitates combined medication and lifestyle shifts to reach safer levels.

Essentially, the key contrast is the extent of elevation and associated health risk factors. Stage 2 hypertension  demands more forceful treatment given its higher risk of potentially serious complications.

Hypotension Meaning

What is hypotension? Hypotension refers to scenarios where the blood pressure in arteries falls below established norms required for optimal circulation to tissues. Just as adequate water pressure is required to drive water through irrigation channels to nourish crops, sufficient blood pressure ensures vital organs have their oxygen and nutritional needs met.

Exams And Tests For High And Low Blood Pressure

Carefully tracking blood pressure is key for properly managing high or low readings. Doctors have several methods to diagnose these conditions and monitor any treatment plans.

High Blood Pressure

  • Pressure Checks: The main test for high blood pressure involves measuring readings with a blood pressure cuff. Results help categorise levels as normal, elevated, or indicators of stage 1 or 2 hypertension.
  • Daytime Monitoring: This uses a portable device to record pressure fluctuations over 24 hours during regular activities. It can identify masked hypertension or cases confined to doctor visits.
  • Home Monitoring: Tracking readings at home helps patients watch for medication effectiveness and broader trends. Doctors often recommend this for those at risk or with a diagnosis.
  • ECG and Echocardiogram: These tests can detect any electrical or structural heart problems that could be related to high blood pressure.
  • Other Tests: These can check for accompanying issues like high cholesterol, kidney dysfunction, or diabetes as possible causes or complications.

Low Blood Pressure

  • Pressure Checks: Readings below normal levels on a blood pressure cuff indicate hypotension, or low pressure.
  • Postural Changes: Measuring blood pressure and heart rate while moving from lying to standing (Tilt Table Test) checks for pressure drops related to postural or neurally mediated hypotension.
  • Additional Tests: Blood tests for anaemia, blood sugar, or thyroid problems may uncover an underlying contributor. Heart tests such as an ECG or echocardiogram may help if that is the suspected cause.

Ongoing monitoring is vital for both high and low blood pressure patients. Doctors will choose testing methods based on symptoms, readings, and medical history. Regular follow-ups to adjust treatment are key for proper management.

Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding the effects of both extremely high and low blood pressure empowers individuals to proactively safeguard cardiovascular wellbeing through screening and lifestyle choices. Preventative care and management of abnormalities earlier on will help to reduce the risk of serious complications down the road.

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Disclaimer

This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. For emergencies please immediately contact 000.