Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a serious condition that affects 50 million Americans – one in four adults. It is defined as an average systolic blood pressure above 140 mm Hg, a diastolic blood pressure above 90 mm Hg, or both. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, the first and third most common causes of death among Americans. In the early and middle adult years, men are more likely than women to develop the condition, but as men and women age, the reverse is true; more women older than the age of 55 have high blood pressure than men of the same age. While hypertension generally develops in people older than 20 years of age, more than half of all Americans over the age of 65 have the condition.

Signs and Symptoms

Most people who have high blood pressure do not know they have it because they generally experience no symptoms at all. Occasionally, some individuals may experience a mild headache when their blood pressure is high. Serious cases of hypertension, which happen infrequently, may produce the following symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Visual disturbances
  • Seizure


There are two major types of hypertension: essential (primary) and secondary. Essential hypertension is by far the most common, accounting for more than 95% of all cases. The cause of this form of hypertension is not known for certain, but is likely a combination of factors, including:

  • Genes for high blood pressure
  • Low levels of nitric oxide, a naturally occurring agent responsible for the dilation of blood vessels (African Americans are believed to have low levels of this substance)
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity

The causes of secondary hypertension include:

  • Kidney disorders
  • Endocrine disorders, such as Cushing’s syndrome
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (episodes during sleep when breathing stops due to obstruction of the air passages)
  • Stress
  • Chronic heavy alcohol consumption (accounts for 10% of cases of secondary high blood pressure)
  • Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), particularly in the elderly
  • Use of certain medications, including oral contraceptives, pseudoephedrine, hormone replacement therapy, and steroids
  • Heavy coffee drinking (5 or more cups per day), particularly in those who have previously had high blood pressure
  • Use of cocaine, nicotine, or licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) can cause or worsen existing hypertension

Integrative Medicine Treatment Options

We combine the best of conventional medicine with the best of complementary and alternative therapies to give you optimal results.

Here are some options we use at Alliance Integrative Medicine LOCATED IN Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Mind/Body Relaxation Techniques
  • Medication, Herbal Therapies and Supplements

Our hypertension patients come to us from Hyde Park, Loveland, Westchester/Liberty Township, Mason and Indian Hill as well as Finneytown, Reading, Springdale, Terrace Park, Blue Ash and from all across the U.S.