Sunday, February 21

Hypertension: The Silent Killer

hypertension
Hypertension simply means high blood pressure, it occurs when blood moving through blood vessels puts too much force against the blood vessel walls. Blood pressure (BP) normally rises and falls throughout the day but when it consistently stays too high for too long, it is called hypertension. In essence, a person is told he/she has high blood pressure if his/her blood pressure readings are repeatedly above normal for a long time.

In 90-95% cases of hypertension, the cause is unknown. This is referred to as primary hypertension. However, there are risk factors leading to such hypertension. In 5-10% cases, it results from certain medical problems; such cases are termed secondary hypertension.

Diseases that may result in this form of hypertension include chronic kidney diseases. Secondary hypertension is curable once the underlying cause is removed either pharmacologically or surgically. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke in adulthood.

Causes
·   Age
·   Obesity
·   Diabetes mellitus
·   Alcoholism
·   Frustration (Pain)
·   High fat intake
·   Salt abuse
·   Genetic factors
·   Stress
·   Sedentary lifestyle (inactivity/lack of exercise)

In addition, some medicine can cause high blood pressure but they're discontinued, blood pressure usually returns to normal e.g. caffeine, contraceptive pills.

The normal blood pressure is 100/70 – 130/90. On the contrary, it is said to be abnormal when the blood pressure’s reading is 140/90mm Hg or greater.

Signs and Symptoms
·   Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
·   Coughing up blood or severe nosebleeds
·   Difficulty in breathing
·   Chest pain/noisy chest
·   Leg-swelling (Oedema)
·   Sudden, severe headache without a certain cause

In respect of signs and symptoms, hypertension is called the “silent killer” because most people have no symptoms until they develop life threatening complications, so it is important to have your BP checked regularly for early detection as high blood pressure can be controlled and its complications avoided with lifestyle changes and medication.

In respect of treatment, high blood pressure can be treated with both lifestyle modifications and anti-hypertensive medications, lifestyle changes is usually the first step adopted and sometimes this approach alone is enough to bring blood pressure down to a normal range.

Note that, high blood pressure cannot be cured but it can be controlled. The goals of treatment are: first to lower BP to a level as near normal as possible and to reduce the risk of getting its complications which are:
·   Heart diseases (heart attack and heart failure)
·   Stroke (brain attack)
·   Kidney diseases

Treatment
The treatment of high blood pressure entails the following:
·   Taking ones BP at home
·   Reduce salt intake
·   Get adequate sleep
·   Regular visitation to one's physician for BP measurement
·   Anything stressful and strenuous should be avoided
·   Limit caffeine, fats and sweets
·   Maintain a healthy diet, shift from meat based diet to plant based diet, diet rich in apple, cabbage, carrot, garlic, ginger, Irish potato and so on.
·   Exercise is a good way to control weight and lower stress level, sixty minutes of brisk walking three to six times a week will help lower ones BP.

Hypertension requires lifelong monitoring hence the importance of BP under control with treatment. Complications can be preventable and it is very important that a hypertensive patient should not stop or change his/her medication unless advised by the physician.


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PLEASE make your health your first priority by taking the right step now not later.

2 comments:

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    Replies
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