Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure, which is a condition that affects approximately 75 million Americans. Roughly half of those have uncontrolled hypertension.
Uncontrolled hypertension is either when the person is not taking treatment to control their high blood pressure or when their hypertension is resistant to treatment – and it is therefore not being controlled. The latter is called resistant hypertension, which is a variation of uncontrolled hypertension.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
Causes of hypertension, or high blood pressure, can include:
- Psychological stress
- Genetic factors
- High-sodium diet
- Low-potassium diet
- Chronic pain
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Drinking alcohol
- Other underlying chronic health condition
Symptoms of Hypertension
A person with high blood pressure usually does not experience any symptoms. If symptoms do exist, they may include:
- Vision problems
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
What Can Uncontrolled Hypertension Cause?
As high blood pressure remains uncontrolled, it can develop into a worsening or even fatal condition. This can eventually cause:
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- High insulin levels
- Memory problems
- Weak blood vessels in the kidneys
- Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol
- Vision loss (due to broken or thickened blood vessels in the eyes)
An assessment of the patient’s lifestyle is necessary to determine the appropriate solution for controlling their high blood pressure. The patient must then adhere to the doctor’s recommendations, including implementing certain lifestyle modifications and taking prescription medications.
Diagnosing Uncontrolled Hypertension
A complete medical history and physical exam are the first steps to compiling a picture to explain a person’s uncontrolled hypertension. This includes a complete list of all medications and supplements a patient takes and any medications that perhaps the patient tends to forget to take – or doesn’t like to take, perhaps because of side effects it causes.
Pharmacies that test blood pressure can give a general idea of your hypertension, but this technology is not as accurate as readings by a doctor.
Your physician will first attempt to rule out pseudo-resistant hypertension, like “white-coat hypertension” which presents only in a doctor’s office and is caused by nervousness when seeing a doctor. Nearly 20 percent of patients who are diagnosed with uncontrolled hypertension actually have white-coat hypertension.
Treating Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
Uncontrolled hypertension can indeed be controlled under a doctor’s care. Many people who have this condition simply aren’t aware they have it because hypertension is asymptomatic.
To achieve an overall reduction in blood pressure, your doctor will likely combine lower doses of drugs from different classes. This method is far more effective than increasing the dose of a single medication.
Each change in medication should be followed up with monthly visits to your doctor until your blood pressure is within a normal range.
Do You Have Uncontrolled Hypertension and Kidney Disease?
If hypertension affects you, find a doctor to work with you to successfully lower your blood pressure. Our team at Commonwealth Nephrology Associates successfully treats hypertension, and we can assist you in getting your uncontrolled hypertension under control.
Call us today at (617) 739-2100 to schedule a visit, or make an appointment online. Hypertension is very treatable, and getting yours under control can not only save your life but also improve your quality of life.