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Arterial hypertension, often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ is one of the major causes of cardiovascular disease and mortality.

The correct diagnosis and timely treatment of this condition are important factors which lower the risk for sustaining heart, brain or kidney damage.

In around 95% of cases, arterial hypertonia is considered a primary condition, since usually, there are no obvious causes to the disease. In a small percentage of cases, the increase in arterial pressure comes as a consequence of specific causes (secondary hypertonia).

Physicians must take care to identify these potential causes since they are crucial to choosing the appropriate course of treatment.

What is arterial hypertension?

Hypertensive disease is characterized by a spike in maximal pressure, which is also called systolic pressure, or the rise of minimal pressure (diastolic) above normal values. Usually it is the systolic pressure that rises more so than the diastolic.

It is difficult to establish reliable criteria about what constitutes an elevated arterial pressure value since physiologically, arterial pressure rises gradually with age.

This makes defining this disease somewhat arbitrary. Arterial pressure values vary across different populations and individuals suffering from various other conditions.

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 26 Mar 2018
Medical Author: Dr. med. Diana Hysi