Yesterday, 17 May 2015, was World Hypertension day.
Do you know your values?
Following is an article from Medical News Today.
. . .
What is hypertension? What causes hypertension?
Hypertension, also referred
to as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the arteries have
persistently elevated blood pressure. Every time the human heart beats,
it pumps blood to the whole body through the arteries.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing up against the blood vessel walls. The higher the pressure the harder the heart has to pump.
normal level for blood pressure is below 120/80, where 120 represents
the systolic measurement (peak pressure in the arteries) and 80
represents the diastolic measurement (minimum pressure in the arteries).
Blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called prehypertension (to
denote increased risk of hypertension), and a blood pressure of 140/90
or above is considered hypertension.
Hypertension may be classified as essential or secondary. Essential hypertension is the term for high blood pressure with
unknown cause. It accounts for about 95% of cases. Secondary
hypertension is the term for high blood pressure with a known direct
cause, such as kidney disease, tumors, orbirth control pills.
High levels of salt intake (sodium sensitivity). According to the American Heart Association (AHA), sodium consumption should be limited to 1,500 milligrams per day,
and that includes everybody, even healthy people without high blood
pressure, diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. AHA's chief executive
officer, Nancy Brown said "Our recommendation is simple in the sense
that it applies to the entire U.S population, not just at-risk groups.
Americans of all ages, regardless of individual risk factors, can
improve the heart health and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease
by restricting their daily consumption of sodium to less that 1,500
milligrams." The recommendation was published in the journal Circulation(November 5th, 2012 issue)
Insufficient calcium, potassium, and magnesium consumption
Statistics in the USA indicate that African Americans have a higher incidence of hypertension than other ethnicities.
What are the symptoms of hypertension?
is no guarantee that a person with hypertension will present any
symptoms of the condition. About 33% of people actually do not know that
they have high blood pressure, and this ignorance can last for years.
For this reason, it is advisable to undergo periodic blood pressure
screenings even when no symptoms are present.
Extremely high blood pressure may lead to some symptoms, however, and these include:
may be diagnosed by a health professional who measures blood pressure
with a device called a sphygmomanometer - the device with the arm cuff,
dial, pump, and valve. The systolic and diastolic numbers will be
recorded and compared to a chart of values. If the pressure is greater
than 140/90, you will be considered to have hypertension.
high blood pressure measurement, however, may be spurious or the result
of stress at the time of the exam. In order to perform a more thorough
diagnosis, physicians usually conduct a physical exam and ask for the
medical history of you and your family. Doctors will need to know if you
have any of the risk factors for hypertension, such as smoking, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
hypertension seems reasonable, tests such as electrocardiograms (EKG)
and echocardiograms will be used in order to measure electrical activity
of the heart and to assess the physical structure of the heart.
Additional blood tests will also be required to identify possible causes
of secondary hypertension and to measure renal function, electrolyte
levels, sugar levels, and cholesterol levels.
How is hypertension treated?
main goal of treatment for hypertension is to lower blood pressure to
less than 140/90 - or even lower in some groups such as people with
diabetes, and people with chronic kidney diseases. Treating hypertension
is important for reducing the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart
High blood pressure may be treated medically, by changing lifestyle factors, or a combination of the two. Important lifestyle changes include losing weight, quitting smoking, eating a healthful diet, reducing sodium intake, exercising regularly, and limiting alcohol consumption.
Medical options to treat hypertension include several classes of drugs. ACE inhibitors, ARB drugs, beta-blockers,
diuretics, *calcium channel blockers, alpha-blockers, and peripheral
vasodilators are the primary drugs used in treatment. These medications
may be used alone or in combination, and some are only used in
combination. In addition, some of these drugs are preferred to others
depending on the characteristics of the patient (diabetic, pregnant,
researchers started off examining what the impact of consuming nitrates
might be on laboratory rats, and then confirmed their findings with 15
volunteer humans, all with hypertension.
The following foods are high in nitrates:
author, Amrita Ahluwalia, Ph.D., said "Our hope is that increasing
one's intake of vegetables with a high dietary nitrate content, such as
green leafy vegetables or beetroot, might be a lifestyle approach that
one could easily employ to improve cardiovascular health."
Telemonitoring improves uncontrolled hypertension -
researchers reported significant improvements in the health of
hypertensive patients who used telemonitoring, which can be used at
home. Patients use a portable system allowing them to record and send
their blood pressure readings straight to the doctor's office in real
can best be prevented by adjusting your lifestyle so that proper diet
and exercise are key components. It is important to maintain a healthy
weight, reduce salt intake, reduce alcohol intake, and reduce stress.
order to prevent damage to critical organs and conditions such as
stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure that may be caused by high
blood pressure, it is important to screen, diagnose, treat, and control
hyper tension in its earliest stages. This can also be accomplished by
increasing public awareness and increasing the frequency of screenings
for the condition.
The risk appears to be there even for those whose elevated blood pressure is not considered enough for medical intervention.
authors say their findings should encourage doctors to control
patients' blood pressure early on, even the prehypertensive ones.
team, led by Professor Charles DeCarli, said they found evidence of
structural damage in white matter, and also volume of gray matter among
people with high blood pressure, including prehypertensive patients in
their 30s and 40s. They wrote that "(brain injury) develops insidiously
over the lifetime with discernible effects".