International Global Health Blog

What is Hypertension?

International Global Health

Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. It can lead to severe complications and increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and death.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects millions -- including children and teens.

Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels. The pressure depends on the work being done by the heart and the resistance of the blood vessels.

Facts and statistic

Approximately 20% of the world’s adults are estimated to have hypertension, when hypertension is defined as BP in excess of 140/90 mm Hg. The prevalence dramatically increases in patients older than 60 years of age. In many countries, 50% of individuals in this age group have hypertension.

Worldwide, approximately 1 billion people have hypertension, contributing than 7.1 million deaths per year.

In Indonesia, the latest WHO data published in May 2017 Hypertension Deaths in Indonesia reached 452.226 (3.02 %) of total deaths. The age adjusted Death Rate is 25.26 per 100.000 of population ranks Indonesia #29 in the world.

Normal blood pressure for adults is defined as a systolic pressure below 120 mmHg and a diastolic pressure below 80 mmHg. It is normal for blood pressures to change when you sleep, wake up, excited or nervous. When you are active, it is normal for your blood pressure to increase. However, once the activity stops, your blood pressure returns to your normal range.

Blood pressure normally rises with age and body size.  Abnormal increases in blood pressure are defined as having blood pressures higher than 120/80 mmHg. The following table outlines and defines high blood pressure severity levels








High Blood Pressure Stage 1



High Blood Pressure Stage II

160 or higher

100 or higher


Causes of High Blood Pressure


High Risk factor of Hypertension

1.       Age

Blood pressure tends to rise with age. About 65 percent of Americans age 60 or older have high blood pressure.

2.       Race/Ethnicity

High blood pressure is more common in African American adults than in Caucasian or Hispanic American adults

3.       Overweight

You are more likely to develop pre-hypertension or high blood pressure if you are overweight or obese.

4.       Gender

Before age 55, men are more likely than women to develop high blood pressure. After age 55, women are more likely than men to develop high blood pressure.

5.       Lifestyle Habits

Unhealthy lifestyle habits can raise the risk for high blood pressure include:

  • Eating too much sodium or too little potassium
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Stress

6.       Family History

A family history of high blood pressure raises the risk of developing pre-hypertension or high blood pressure. Some people have a high sensitivity to sodium and salt, which may increase their risk for high blood pressure and may run in families. 


As symptoms do not usually appear until the body is damaged from chronic high blood pressure. Diagnosis for High Blood Pressure is based on blood pressure readings.

Your health care provider usually takes 2-3 blood pressure readings at several medical appointments to diagnose high blood pressure.

Tips to prevent High Blood Pressure

Lifestyle modification and consultation regularly

Lifestyle changes such as stopping tobacco use & exposure tobacco products, eating healthy food, reducing salt intake, exercising regularly and avoiding alcohol might be help you.  For others, the lifestyle changes need prescription medication to control blood pressure rate as per doctor recommendation.



Web MD

American Health Association

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute


Medical News Today

American Society of Hypertension

Guide to Community Preventive Services


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