Most people are only aware of chronic hypertension, but malignant hypertension, which typically develops in men aged 30 to 40, also requires attention, a Hsinchu cardiologist said.
In clinical medicine, malignant hypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure of more than 200 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or a diastolic blood pressure of more than 130 mmHg, said Chan Chia-hung (詹佳紘), a physician at Catholic Mercy Hospital’s cardiology division.
The condition is accompanied by symptoms of acute discomfort in parts of the body, including the head, eyes, heart, lungs and kidneys, Chan said.
Malignant hypertension can be diagnosed by the presence of headaches, stroke, retinal hemorrhage, acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, acute renal failure or acute pulmonary edema, Chan added.
Up to 5 percent of patients with hypertension have malignant hypertension, Chan said, adding that the condition has a male to female ratio of 10 to one.
If a person with hypertension experiences rapid temperature changes, psychological trauma, emotional instability, extreme fatigue, stress, hormonal imbalance or other inducing factors, their condition could easily worsen and develop into malignant hypertension, he said.
Not keeping chronic hypertension under control or overlooking the condition could cause it to worsen and turn into malignant hypertension, he added.
Thus, to treat malignant hypertension, apart from using medication to control the condition, as in the case of chronic hypertension, it is even more important to find and treat the inducing factor as soon as possible, he said.
People with chronic hypertension should seek medical help if they experience systemic symptoms of discomfort, he added.
Chronic hypertension is associated with diet, personal living habits, as well as genetics, giving rise to concerns among patients that malignant hypertension could be hereditary, Chan said.
As chronic hypertension could develop into malignant hypertension if it is not kept under control, the genetics underlying malignant hypertension cannot be excluded, he said.
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