Between 2006 and 2011, there was a 25% increase in the number of people visiting US emergency rooms for essential hypertension, according to an analysis of data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample in 2014.  The reason for the increase, however, remained uncertain. The rate of emergency department visits also increased significantly, according to the study, rising from 190.1 visits per 100,000 population in 2006 to 238.5 visits per 100,000 population in 2011. Over the same period, however, admission rates decreased, from 10.47% in 2006 to 8.85% in 2011. 
Hypertension is diagnosed on the basis of a persistently high resting blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends at least three resting measurements on at least two separate health care visits. The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to confirm the diagnosis of hypertension if a clinic blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or higher.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In particular, eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Exercise is also important when it comes to preventing this condition. Regular physical activity will reduce your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. The key is to try to maintain a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program or radically changing your diet.
Measuring BP takes into account two pressures, measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The first, systolic pressure, is the force exerted on the blood vessel walls when the heart is pumping blood. Diastolic pressure reflects the force present when the heart relaxes between beats. They are written as systolic over diastolic pressure. For instance, a blood pressure of 120/80 mm Hg or 120 over 80 corresponds to a systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 80.
In a meta-analysis of pooled data from 19 prospective cohort studies involving 762,393 patients, Huang et al reported that, after adjustment for multiple cardiovascular risk factors, prehypertension was associated with a 66% increased risk for stroke, compared with an optimal blood pressure (< 120/80 mm Hg). [41, 42] Patients in the high range of prehypertension (130-139/85-89 mm Hg) had a 95% increased risk of stroke, compared with a 44% increased risk for those in the low range of prehypertension (120-129/80-84 mm Hg). [41, 42]
If lifestyle modifications are insufficient to achieve the goal BP, there are several drug options for treating and managing hypertension. Thiazide diuretics, an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) /angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB), or calcium channel blocker (CCB) are the preferred agents in nonblack populations, whereas CCBs or thiazide diuretics are favored in black hypertensive populations.  These recommendations do not exclude the use of ACE inhibitors or ARBs in treatment of black patients, or CCBs or diuretics in non-black persons. Often, patients require several antihypertensive agents to achieve adequate BP control.
The AHA/ASA recommends a diet that is low in sodium, is high in potassium, and promotes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products for reducing BP and lowering the risk of stroke. Other recommendations include increasing physical activity (30 minutes or more of moderate intensity activity on a daily basis) and losing weight (for overweight and obese persons).