SYSTEMIC HYPERTENSION

Also known as high blood pressure, it is a measurement of the amount of force against the walls of your arteries. Blood vessels are under constant pressure, which can damage them, because the higher the pressure, the more your heart is forced to pump blood towards all parts of your body.

Every time your heart beats, it is pumping blood into your blood vessels, carrying blood to every part of your body. Normal blood pressure in adults is 120 mm Hg and 80 mm Hg when your heart is relaxed; when these parameters reach 140/ 90 mm Hg, statistics say that your blood pressure is high.

Hypertension is the term commonly used to refer to high blood pressure. Globally, it is estimated that there are more than a billion people with hypertension.



How Does High Blood Pressure Affect The Heart?


As blood pressure raises, so does the risk of heart and blood-vessel damage in major organs such as the brain or kidneys. This pathology is the most important preventable cause for cardiovascular diseases in the world.

High blood pressure puts your heart under significant strain. The heart, as a consequence, increases in size in order to perform the extra work. Just like any other organ, it increases in size when it is subjected to strain.

When hypertension is not controlled, it can unleash greater cardiovascular events, whether a heart attack, heart hypertrophy and, in time, heart failure. High blood pressure can also cause blood to filter into your brain causing a cerebrovascular accident of the hemorrhagic type: retinal hemorrhage, carotid artery rupture or dissection.




Causes


There are several factors that influence how people develop high blood pressure:

  • Unhealthy habits such as a diet high in sodium, alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity, overweight and obesity.
  • The condition of your kidneys, nervous system or blood vessels.
  • Hormonal levels
  • Some medication prescribed for asthma, hormonal treatments, contraceptive pills and over-the-counter medication for the common cold. This happens because the medication can alter the balance between water levels and sodium in your body, as well as how much your blood vessels contract, which could cause high blood pressure.
  • Stress, anxiety or worry
  • Ingesting foods high in salt
  • Family history of this pathology
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Genetic inheritance (high blood pressure in parents or grandparents)

As the body grows old, it becomes more vulnerable to developing high blood pressure since blood vessels become rigid due to the disease, which can unleash the appearance of cerebrovascular accidents, heart attacks, heart failure, kidney disease or premature death.




Symptoms


In most cases, no symptoms are shown. Hypertension is detected during medical appointments or medical check-ups. However, there are patients who present the following symptoms:

  • Intense, pinching headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Constant buzzing in the ears
  • Seeing small dots of light
  • Blurry vision and vertigo
  • Chest or back pains
  • Bleeding nose



Changes In Your Lifestyle That Will Facilitate A Better Control Of Your Blood Pressure:

There are many ways to keep your blood pressure low or at balanced levels. Sticking to the recommended activities should favor your results. Professional medical supervision and diet tips are the best way to turn your lifestyle into a healthy one. It is not the same to lose weight than to lose size. The former might refer to muscle breakdown and the latter to body-fat loss.


  • Follow a healthy diet plan, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and eat foods rich in potassium like bananas, tomatoes and pineapple, as well as foods rich in fiber like wholemeal bread, brown rice, cereals, in moderation.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water or 1 to 2 liters of water per day, and drink sugar-free drinks.
  • Exercise; walk or do aerobic exercises for 30 minutes a day.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption.
  • Reduce sodium ingestion, cut back on salty foods, and avoid adding extra salt to your meals before eating.
  • Try to reduce stress, anxiety or worry. Meditate or do yoga, which are activities that have the best results in patients under great loads of stress.
  • Keep a healthy weight taking your height into consideration.


Treatment


Your doctor is the person who will decide what type of medication is the best treatment for you, based on your clinical and genetic history. Only your doctor can prescribe medication that stabilizes your blood pressure. It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions religiously.

Here are some of the most common treatments for high blood pressure:

  • Diuretics. They help the kidneys get rid of excess sodium in the body. As a result, blood vessels do not retain so much liquid and blood pressure lowers.
  • Beta blockers. They make the heart slow down and relax.
  • Angiogestin enzyme inhibitor. They relax blood vessels, which helps reduce high blood pressure.
  • Calcium channel blockers. They relax blood vessels to prevent calcium from penetrating them and causing vasodilation.

It is important that all patients are under medical supervision and that they only take the medication exclusively prescribed by their doctor, following any dosage or other instructions provided; that they attend medical appointments or medical test appointments; and that they choose a healthier lifestyle including a balanced diet and regular exercising.



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