High Blood Pressure or "Hypertension" as it is known in the medical field describes a condition where the total blood circulating in your arteries and veins exist in an abnormally high amount of fluid pressure. High blood pressure is standardly considered anything above 140/90 mmHg.
Introduction to High Blood PressureBlood pressure is recorded in two numbers: The upper systolic pressure, which represents the pressure exerted during the heartbeat, and the lower number is shows diastolic pressure, which is the pressure as the heart is resting between beats.High Blood Pressure or "Hypertension" as it is known in the medical field describes a condition where the total blood circulating in your arteries and veins exist in an abnormally high amount of fluid pressure.
There are several different types of hypertension. Chronic hypertension usually exists at a 'borderline' level in the high-end of normal pressures. This can last years; some borderlines never progress to full-blown hypertension. Without a healthy diet (low salt/sodium), regular exercise, and weight-loss, borderline hypertension can evolve into a more severe chronic resting state of high blood pressure.
The kind of Blood Pressure spikes that are associated with drug side-effects tend to be acute, immediate-onset, and this type of elevated blood pressure can occur in anyone---however, the person with resting (chronic) hypertension is much more likely to require emergency treatment.
Hypertensive Urgency and Emergency represent the WORST situation where a person experiences high blood pressure as a result of a drug or combination of drugs' side-effect.
There are TONS of reasons why a person's blood pressure becomes high. Examples include: sodium and water retention, kidney failure--causing fluid-overload, leading to a high-volume state, errors in the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone cascade, obesity, genetics (family history), a pituitary tumor, renal artery stenosis (chances of this are about 1/million!) and the only cause that is relevant to THIS discussion is high blood pressure that is caused by increased vascular tone--meaning that the arteries and/or veins become tighter (aka vasoconstriction), and this drives blood pressure up due to fluid dynamics--i.e. there is now less room for a given amount of blood to exist, therefore pressure rises.
With common drugs of abuse, High Blood Pressure is a very common side-effect of Central Nervous System Stimulants--i.e. cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamine, methcathinone, MDMA, ephedrine...and lesser known RCs which are based around common stimulant-drug-architecture--including mephedrone (4methyl-methcathinone), all the piperazines (BZP, TFMPP, etc.), methylone (bk-MDMA), butylone (bk-MBDB), MDPV, desoxypipradrol and probably for safe measure, ALL ofShulgin's Phenylethylamines should be included in this list!
In each and every one of these example-drugs (and the ones that I did NOT mention because they haven't been discovered yet!), the increase in blood pressure is caused by a direct outpouring of adrenaline or the drug itSELF acts on the heart/vessels as if it were adrenaline. The effects of adrenaline on the heart and vessels is that it will speed up the heart rate and it will vasoconstrict the vessels, leading to an increased blood pressure. Most stimulant drugs cause blood pressure elevation as a result of a primary effect on the nervous system.
In general, for a drug to be classified as a stimulant or SPEED or an UPPER, these drugs all work by revving-up the body's normal sympathetic nervous system until the user reports feeling JACKED-UP AND OUTTA CONTROL!!
Normally, the sympathetic nervous system lies in continuous balance with the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic is aka "Fight or Flight" and is associated with huge amounts of adrenaline, energy, power, tunnel vision, and the experience itself is addictive (i.e. stunt-artists, parachutist-hobbies, rock-climbers). The parasympathetic system is more mellow...its concerns are with digestion of food, rest, relaxation, sleep, relaxing the blood vessels, slowing down the heart, etc.
Is high-blood pressure dangerous?
YES. YES. YES. You better believe it is dangerous. When blood pressures reach their 'limit,' expect to suffer massive cerebral vascular injuries--essentially a bleeding stroke... Sad because they usually can be prevented.
What can I do to stay safe with my blood pressure?
First of all, you need to get a regular physician's examination. Here you will find your basal (resting) blood pressure, and the doctor can look for any strange conditions that might be endemic to your age/race/population... if your basal blood pressure is less than 130/80, then you do NOT have baseline high blood pressure. If your readings are above 130/80, then you DO have a baseline HIGH blood-pressure. You should be very careful with stimulant-use and buy an automatic bp cuff so you can test your own blood pressure while on test-doses of various drugs. If your resting blood pressure is above 140/90, then you should avoid stimulant drugs...
most important recommendation is that if your doctor prescribes you a drug for your high blood pressure, then it will ONLY work if you TAKE IT (EVERY DAY!)... this will decrease your likelihood of having problems in the future with stimulants and will also slow down the progression of your hypertension.
Symptoms of Elevated BP
Unfortunately, most of those who have high BPs and don't know it have NO SYMPTOMS! That's why high blood pressure is called the "Silent Killer."
A non-reliable, medium/ok-indicators of increasing BP after taking drugs:
Feel your carotid pulse (below either ear, halfway up the neck) NOW and get a "feel" for your "normal" pulse tempo and the "push" or pressure exerted on each pulsation... while this is NOT a reliable indicator of your blood pressure, it is far better than nothing!
Best way to check your own BP?
Best is to get yourself an automatic upper arm cuff from a drugstore or online. Anyone with high blood pressure should GET ONE! note: the upper arm cuffs are more reliable than the "wrist cuffs."
How High is TOOO HIGH?
If you're talking about a measured BP after taking a stimulant, then it really depends on a lot of variables. For most young, healthy people with no other risk factors, they will usually be able to tolerate measurements up to 160/80 without much worry, and if someone were to find themselves at 180/100--even in this situation, without accompanying problems or other symptoms (chest pain, headache, double vision, seizures, etc), most people will tolerate this… the really BIG PROBLEMS begin to get overwhelming at 190's/110 and especially at 200/120 (EITHER NUMBER!) and higher. This is commonly called a Hypertensive Emergency/Urgency--and it should be seen in an ER.
For the sake of completeness, ANYONE who dabbles into stimulant drugs is running a risk of developing severe, debilitating, or emergent conditions as result of their drug use. Even if you keep your blood pressure fairly well-controlled, this doesn't guarantee that you won't have a stroke, ruptured aneurysm, heart attack, or other life-threatening complication of the drugs. As with most factors, treatment and measurement of high blood pressure, along with helpful tips for daily living. You’ll feel empowered to manage your high blood pressure.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
- Standard high blood pressure- In most adults, there is no identifiable, known cause for high blood pressure. Formally referred to as "essential" or "primary" hypertension, this condition develops gradually over years.
- Secondary high blood pressure - Can result from: kidney problems, adrenal gland tumors, congenital blood vessel defects, sleep apnea, alcohol/and or drug abuse, including over-the-counter medications such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
- Isolated systolic hypertension - In which systolic pressure rises above 140, while the lower number stays near the normal range, below 90. This type of hypertension, found mostly in people 65 and over, is due to fading elasticity of the arteries.
- Malignant hypertension - Occurs in less than 1% of the population and is most commonly found in young black men and women as well as pregnant women displaying signs of toxemia. This type of high blood pressure should be treated at an emergency facility when diastolic pressure rises over 130, causing symptoms of dizziness, blurry vision, chest pains, headache and confusion.
- Resistant hypertension - Occurs in mostly older, obese, female, African American, or have an underlying illness, such as diabetes or kidney disease and represents 20-30% of the population. This type of hypertension does not respond well to medication, and those who suffer from the condition are often of three hypertension medications or more, often with no lasting result.
Symptoms & Treatments of High Blood PressureHigh blood pressure, also known as "The Silent Killer," often has no symptoms at all, though some people in the early stages of the disease have expressed feelings of dizziness, headaches as well as unwarranted nosebleeds. 
- Stay on a healthy diet
- Stay physically active
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Learn to cope better with stress
- Do not smoke. If you do smoke, stop
- ACE inhibitors
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- Alpha blockers
- Alpha-2 Receptor Agonist
- Combined alpha and beta-blockers
- Central agonists
- Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors
- Blood vessel dilators (vasodilators)
Guidelines to Blood PressureAs mentioned before, blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). According to current adult guidelines, blood pressure is categorized as normal, prehypertensive, and hypertensive (which is further divided into Stage 1 and 2, according to severity).
- Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg.
- High blood pressure is greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg (systolic) or greater than or equal to 90 mm Hg (diastolic).
- Blood pressure readings in the prehypertension category (120 -139 systolic or 80 - 89 diastolic) indicate an increased risk for developing hypertension.
- Current guidelines for children are based on percentile ranges for a child’s body size. Hypertension is defined as average systolic and diastolic readings that are greater than the 95th percentile for gender, age, and height on at least three occasions.
- Pre-hypertension in children is diagnosed when average systolic or diastolic blood pressure levels are at least in the 90th percentile but less than the 95th percentile. For adolescents, as with adults, blood pressure readings greater than 120/80 are considered prehypertensive. Increasing rates of childhood obesity have led to increasing rates of hypertension and pre-hypertension among children and adolescents. Although more children are having high blood pressure, recent studies indicate that pediatric hypertension is frequently underdiagnosed.
Latest Medical Information, Videos - High Blood Pressure
- An interactive high blood pressure knowledge site, courtesy of the American Heart Association located here.
- Natural ways to cope with high blood pressure by the Mayo Clinic here.
- UK Blood pressure site here.
- The Mayo Clinic's short film on blood pressure here.
- 67 million American adults (31%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 of every 3 adults.1
- Only about half (47%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.1
- Nearly 1 of 3 American adults has prehypertension—blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal, but not yet in the high blood pressure range.2
- High blood pressure costs the nation $47.5 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat high blood pressure, and missed days of work.
ReferencesThe Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/basics/causes/con-20019580
The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/hypertension/background.html
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/treatment
American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Condi...d-Pressure-Medications_UCM_303247_Article.jsp
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm