What is Systemic Hypertension?

J.M. Willhite
J.M. Willhite
Systemic hypertension refers to high arterial blood pressure.
Systemic hypertension refers to high arterial blood pressure.

Systemic hypertension is the elevation of arterial blood pressure in the vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the body. Commonly referred to simply as hypertension, elevated blood pressure adversely affects cardiovascular function and can jeopardize heart health. Individuals diagnosed with this condition are generally prescribed medication and advised to make dietary and lifestyle changes to lower their blood pressure.

An ECG may be one of the first tests performed if systemic hypertension is suspected.
An ECG may be one of the first tests performed if systemic hypertension is suspected.

Hypertension develops when cardiovascular blood circulation becomes impaired by arterial narrowing. The constricted blood flow necessitates increased pressure within the heart to usher blood through its chambers. Systemic hypertension is associated with the right-sided cardiovascular system and those vessels that deliver freshly oxygenated blood throughout the body.

Prolonged periods of physical inactivity may contribute to systemic hypertension.
Prolonged periods of physical inactivity may contribute to systemic hypertension.

It is not uncommon for systemic arterial hypertension to remain undiagnosed for years since many people remain asymptomatic, meaning they experience no signs that anything is wrong. Most preliminary diagnoses are made following consistently high blood pressure readings over a period of time. If systemic hypertension is suspected, a battery of diagnostic tests, including an electrocardiogram (ECG), may be administered to further evaluate one’s cardiovascular function and confirm a diagnosis.

Medical treatment for people with systemic hypertension often includes medication and dietary changes.
Medical treatment for people with systemic hypertension often includes medication and dietary changes.

Symptoms of hypertension are generally proportional to the severity of one’s condition. As arterial pressure increases, so does symptom prominence and intensity. Initial signs of systemic hypertension can include a persistent, dull headache, confusion and episodic dizziness. When other system functions become affected, additional symptoms may include pronounced fatigue, impaired vision and malaise. If symptoms are ignored, one’s chances for complications increase significantly, including stroke, blindness and heart failure.

Aside from existing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, several factors can affect one’s chances for developing systemic hypertension over the long term. Prolonged physical inactivity, often accompanied by obesity, consuming a diet deficient in essential vitamins and minerals, and a familial history of high blood pressure are frequently considered risk factors for this chronic condition. Additional contributory factors include smoking and excessive alcohol use.

Treatment for systemic hypertension is generally dependent on the condition's origin. Those cases that stem from a secondary condition necessitate treatment for the existing condition first. Once the underlying condition is treated, dietary and lifestyle changes may suffice.

Persistent or primary cases of hypertension are generally treated with medication. Depending on the severity of one’s condition, a variety of drugs may be used to stabilize blood pressure. In most cases, beta and calcium channel blockers are prescribed to ease the stress placed on the heart muscle and reduce arterial constriction. Other drugs may be used to flush the body of unnecessary fluids and minimize the risk for additional arterial narrowing.

Discussion Comments

serenesurface

I'm afraid that I'm going to develop systemic hypertension in the future because both of my parents have it.

I know that there is no proof that genetics is a cause of hypertension, but I do think that it can be hereditary. Diabetes also runs in my family and I have got that too. Even though I'm eating a fairly healthy diet and I take a walk everyday, I not very fit. I need to lose weight.

ysmina

@burcinc-- It's true, hypertension can cause anger. I didn't have many symptoms when I was diagnosed with systemic hypertension. I just had a chronic neck pain. My neck was always tense and sore. Isn't that weird?

burcinc

I have just been diagnosed with systemic hypertension. I actually went to the doctor because of migraines and mood changes. I have been getting migraines almost everyday for the past few months and I've noticed that I'm very quick to anger. I start yelling at small things all of the sudden. I was never like that before.

I'm on a hypertension diet now (no salt) and take medications to lower my blood pressure everyday. I feel much better.

Does anyone else here have systemic hypertension? What kind of symptoms did you have when you were diagnosed?

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    • Systemic hypertension refers to high arterial blood pressure.
      By: niyazz
      Systemic hypertension refers to high arterial blood pressure.
    • An ECG may be one of the first tests performed if systemic hypertension is suspected.
      By: Gennadiy Poznyakov
      An ECG may be one of the first tests performed if systemic hypertension is suspected.
    • Prolonged periods of physical inactivity may contribute to systemic hypertension.
      By: Pixinoo
      Prolonged periods of physical inactivity may contribute to systemic hypertension.
    • Medical treatment for people with systemic hypertension often includes medication and dietary changes.
      By: michaeljung
      Medical treatment for people with systemic hypertension often includes medication and dietary changes.