Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a serious problem because people with the condition have a higher risk for chronic kidney disease, heart disease and other medical problems than people with normal blood pressure. The American Heart Association states that people generally develop high blood pressure later in life, and many do not even know that they have hypertension. Left untreated, hypertension can damage the kidneys, eyes, heart and brain. High blood pressure is a factor in 68 percent of all first heart attacks and in 75 percent of all first strokes. If high blood pressure is left untreated, it can cause heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, congestive heart failure and reductions in eye sight.
In more than 90 percent of all high blood pressure cases, the exact cause is unknown. If lifestyle changes aren't enough, medication is needed to provide adequate control. Antihypertensive medications include diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), calcium channel blockers and alpha-blockers. Doctors tend to be more aggressive in using medications in people with diabetes, kidney disease and heart problems because these people have a higher risk of developing additional problems from high blood pressure.