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Hypertension

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated.

Hypertension usually does not cause symptoms initially, but sustained hypertension over time is a major risk factor for many deadly complications. Why?

when there’s too much pressure on the walls of the blood vessels, they might end up bursting somewhere in the body causing severe damage to the surrounding tissues.
Hypertension is classified as either primary (essential) hypertension or secondary hypertension. About 90–95% of cases are categorized as primary hypertension, defined as high blood pressure with no obvious underlying cause, except maybe the unhealthy lifestyle. The other 5–10% of cases are categorized as secondary hypertension, which is due to an identifiable cause, such as chronic kidney disease, narrowing of the aorta or kidney arteries, or an endocrine disorder.
If you ignore your blood pressure because you think symptoms will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life. Everybody needs to measure their blood pressure on a regular basis, and to prevent high blood pressure from developing.

So, are there any warning signs for hyertension?

There’s a common misconception that people with high blood pressure, will experience symptoms such as nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping or facial flushing. The truth is that hypertension is very often a symptomless condition.

You should not try to evaluate your symptoms in an attempt to self-diagnose high blood pressure. Diagnosis should only be made by your doctor.

Headaches or the lack of headaches are not reliable indicators of your blood pressure. Instead, please work with your doctor and know your numbers.

Except with hypertensive crisis, nosebleeds are not a reliable indicator for hypertention. If your nosebleeds are frequent (more than once a week) or if they are heavy or hard to stop, you should talk to your doctor.
Keep in mind that nosebleeds can be caused by a variety of factors.

A variety of symptoms may be indirectly related to HBP but are warning signs that need medical assessment. For example:
Blood spots in the eyes
Floaters in the eyes are not related to high blood pressure. However, an ophthalmologist may be able to detect damage to the optic nerve caused by untreated HBP.
Facial flushing
Facial flushing occurs when blood vessels in the face dilate. While facial flushing may occur while your blood pressure is higher than usual, HBP is not the cause of facial flushing.
Dizziness
Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination and trouble walking are all warning signs of a stroke. HBP is one of the leading risk factors for stroke.

When blood pressure readings rise to dangerously high levels (systolic of 180 or higher OR diastolic of 110 or higher) you may notice obvious symptoms. In addition to extreme readings of blood pressure, if you experience:
Severe headaches
Severe anxiety
Shortness of breath
Nosebleeds
This is called a hypertensive crisis, and emergency medical treatment is needed.

Prevention
Much of the disease burden of high blood pressure is experienced by people who are not labeled as hypertensive. Lifestyle changes are recommended to lower blood pressure, before starting drug therapy. Mainly:
maintain normal body weight for adults (e.g. body mass index 20–25 kg/m2)
reduce dietary sodium intake to engage in regular aerobic physical activity such as brisk walking (≥30 min per day, most days of the week)
limit alcohol consumption to no more than 3 units/day in men and no more than 2 units/day in women
consume a diet rich in fruit and vegetables (e.g. at least five portions per day);
Effective lifestyle modification may lower blood pressure as much as an individual antihypertensive drug. Combinations of two or more lifestyle modifications can achieve even better results.
Resistant hypertension
Resistant hypertension is defined as hypertension that remains above goal blood pressure in spite of using, at once, three antihypertensive medications belonging to different drug classes. Low adherence to treatment is an important cause of resistant hypertension. Resistant hypertension may also represent the result of chronic high activity of the autonomic nervous system; this concept is known as “neurogenic hypertension”.
What are the causes?
Resistant hypertension has several possible causes, including one or more other underlying medical conditions. In addition to treating RH with medications, doctors typically investigate secondary causes, such as:
Abnormalities in the hormones that control blood pressure.
Artery-clogging plaque in blood vessels that nourish the kidneys.
Sleep problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea.
Obesity and heavy alcohol intake.

If undiscovered, hypertension can be a serious health problem. Get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis, and stick to a healthy lifestyle to prevent it.
all the best.

Blood Pressure

When you go the doctor to get your blood pressure measured, you will hear two numbers, for example; 120/80. What do those numbers mean?

In order to understand the subject of blood pressure, we first have to know some information about the circulatory system (cardiovascular system).

The circulatory system is made up of organs that work together: the heart; lungs; blood vessels; and blood.

The heart, blood, and blood vessels make up the cardiovascular component of the circulatory system.

The heart is a muscle the size of your fist. It constantly pumps blood through the blood vessels. The blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the body’s organs and drops off waste products to be filtered out by the kidneys, liver, lungs, and skin.

Each heart beat pushes blood out of the heart into the arteries, then the heart relaxes while getting ready for the next pumping beat. So, in fact we observe two actions here: contraction and relaxation.
The contraction is called systole, and the relaxation: diastole.

The blood pressure is the amount of pressure exerted on your artery walls by the blood flowing into them, under the effect of the heart’s pumping action. Now let’s see, if the heart contracts to push the blood forward, this must be causing a higher pressure on the artery walls than when it relaxes, right? Exactly! So there are actually two readings for the blood pressure in one person: one while the heart contracts, which causes the higher pressure value: called systolic pressure; and the other when the heart relaxes/rests, called the diastolic pressure.

The systolic pressure is the upper/higher one, and the diastolic is the lower one.

Now let’s have a further look at the measurement unit of blood pressure. We say for example that my blood pressure is 120/80 mm of mercury. Which means that the blood presses on the walls of the arteries with the same pressure of a 1-mm thick column of mercury with the height of, say 120 mm, which is “the value we read”.

A sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope are devices used to record your blood pressure.

A sphygmomanometer consists of an inflatable cuff, a measuring unit (the mercury manometer, or aneroid gauge), and a mechanism for inflation which may be a manually operated bulb and valve or a pump operated electrically.

The cuff is normally placed to fit around an upper arm, at roughly the same vertical height as the heart while the subject is seated with the arm supported. It is essential that the correct size of cuff is selected for the patient. For clinical measurements it is usual to measure and record both arms in the initial consultation to determine if the pressure is significantly higher in one arm than the other. The cuff is inflated until the artery is completely occluded.
Using a stethoscope, we listen to the brachial artery at the elbow, the examiner slowly releases the pressure in the cuff. As the pressure in the cuffs falls, a “whooshing” or pounding sound is heard (see Korotkoff sounds) when blood flow first starts again in the artery. The pressure at which this sound began is noted and recorded as the systolic blood pressure. The cuff pressure is further released until the sound can no longer be heard. This is recorded as the diastolic blood pressure. We can also palpate/feel the radial pulse to make sure of the lower reading.
The top number (the systolic blood pressure) is considered a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people above 50 years of age. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to increasing stiffness of large arteries and long-term build-up of plaque due to unhelathy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle.
A single high reading does not necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. However, if readings stay at 140/90 mm Hg or above (systolic 140 or above OR diastolic 90 or above) over time, this is a sign that you should start a treatment program. Such a program almost always includes lifestyle changes and often prescription medication for those with readings of 140/90 or higher.
If, while monitoring your blood pressure, you get a systolic reading of 180 mm Hg or higher OR a diastolic reading of 110 mm HG or higher, wait a couple of minutes and take it again. If the reading is still at or above that level, you should seek immediate emergency medical treatment for a hypertensive crisis.
Starting at age 20, it is recommended to do a blood pressure screening every 2 years.

Even if your blood pressure is normal, you should consider making lifestyle modifications to prevent the development of HBP and improve your heart health.
For more on blood pressure, please tune into iUnerstand.tv (afham.tv)
All the best.