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Hypertension : Definition
Western Medicine Chinese Medicine
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Hypertension is known as abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries. When your heart beats, it pumps blood to the arteries and creates pressure in them. Blood pressure is responsible for delivering oxygen to your organs, because without oxygen the organs would not work. Blood pressure rises as a normal response to stress and physical activity. However, people with hypertension have high blood pressure even when they are not undergoing a lot of physical activity. Normal blood pressure is usually less than 140/90 mm Hg, defined as millimeters of mercury, for an adult. Blood pressure that overs this level is considered high. Your healthcare provider may take several readings before making a decision about whether your blood pressure is considered to be in the high range.

Hypertension increases your risk for developing vascular and heart diseases, which may lead to a heart attack or stroke.

High Blood Pressure Facts and Myths


According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there is no term or definition that specifically refers to the modern definition of hypertension. The disease is understood in TCM by the common symptoms like headache, dizziness and light headedness, which come under disharmony categories such as "dizziness" and "headache." Some specific types of hypertension are also related with disharmony categories, such as "coma" and "convulsion," that occur in hypertensive brain disease as well as "pre-eclampsia", a severe hypertension during pregnancy.

In ancient China, because of no effective medications in controlling hypertension, it led to the development of many secondary diseases, such as stroke, one of the four major disharmony categories in TCM, often develops from hypertension. Other complications include chest pain, cardiac asthma (asthma caused by heart disease), and edema (swelling).

Information about hypertension diagnosis and treatment is scattered in a variety of TCM classics. The early descriptions can be found in the Suwen (The Book of Plain Questions), which has the following to say about a hypertension related symptom: "dizziness caused by wind evil is related to liver disorder." Also, the book states: "head problems such as headache, dizziness and boils are closely associated with weakened liver and kidney that lead to yin deficiency in the lower body and yang hyperactivity in the upper body." Thereafter, many TCM physicians mentioned the experiences in their books. For example, the book entitled Secret Storage of Orchid Chamber reads: "dizziness and blurred vision are caused by wind evil inside the body, and should be treated with the herb named Rhizoma Gastrodiae." Another book Guiding Cases for Clinical Treatment states: "people with dizziness will soon develop stroke," and "the cause of it is mainly originated from liver disorder."

The above old records are the important references for modern TCM to manage hypertension.