High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is called a silent killer as it has no noticeable symptoms. It is a common condition faced by millions of people around the globe. Hypertension is defined as an abnormality in the pressure at which blood circulates in the vessels of our body. In simple words, hypertension happens when blood pressure increases beyond healthy levels.
About 65 million American adults suffer from hypertension or persistently high blood pressure. 1 out of 3 adults in the US suffers from this condition. Hypertension may be categorized as one of the leading causes of heart failure, kidney disorders, and stroke.
The ideal blood pressure or flow of blood or the cardiac output in an adult human body during rest is 110/70mmHg. Variations in blood pressure could be a result of a difference in the physiology of a person’s fitness, age factor, hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, environmental factors, gender differences, side effects of any medication, and so on.
According to the guidelines of the Joint National Committee for hypertension, the range of BP levels are given below:
|Stage||Systolic Blood Pressure (mmHg)||Diastolic Blood Pressure (mmHg)|
|Normal||Less than 120||Less than 180|
|Stage 1 Hypertension||140-159||90-99|
|Stage 2 Hypertension||Greater than 160||Greater than 100|
According to new guidelines, the pre-hypertension stage now includes many individuals formerly classified as normal. High-normal and stage 2 merges the previous stages 2 and 3 as their treatment options are similar.
TYPES OF HYPERTENSION OR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE:
Hypertension can be majorly classified into two types:
- Primary hypertension
- Secondary hypertension
It is also classed essential hypertension, and around 90-95% of all hypertension cases are considered as primary. Here, persistent increased blood pressure is observed without attributing to any underlying reasons.
The rest of 5-10% cases are attributed to secondary hypertension that has an underlying cause. Listed below are several reasons for secondary hypertension-
- Increase in volume of blood – As a result of hypersecretion of aldosterone, maybe from the tumor of the adrenal cortex that causes reabsorption of salt and water from the kidney increasing blood volume.
- Increased Systemic Vascular Resistance As A Result Of Vasoconstriction
- Any disorder that damages renal tissue or obstructs renal blood flow may cause the kidney to produce an excess amount of renin into the blood. Ultimate increase in the level of angiotensin II leads to vasoconstriction and increased systemic vascular resistance.
- Increased Heart Rate And Contractility
- Increased secretion of Epinephrine and Norepinephrine due to pheochromocytoma may cause increased heart rate and contractility leading to systemic vascular resistance.
LIFESTYLE TO CONTROL HYPERTENSION:
A healthy lifestyle may help to limit the use of drugs and control hypertension. Following are some ways to help reduce hypertension:
- Salt sensitivity: High-salt diet can worsen the conditions of people suffering from hypertension. Approximately half of the patients are “salt-sensitive”. All you have to do is reduce salt intake. It helps in lowering blood pressure or by.
- Stress control: Stress is among the primary causes of blood pressure. Controlled release of Epinephrine and Norepinephrine resulting due to stress, may help to reduce blood pressure. Specific meditation for this and biofeedback techniques may help as well.
- Quit smoking: Smoking has a devastating effect on the heart leading to vasoconstriction and increased blood pressure.
- Recommended dietary intake: Higher levels of calcium, potassium, and magnesium are associated with lower risks of hypertension.
- Keeping fit: Becoming physically fit by doing exercise, for example, brisk walking for about 30-45 minutes may help reduce blood pressure up to 10mmHg.
- Lose weight: If you manage to lose a few pounds, then it is the best treatment to reduce blood pressure for an overweight hypersensitive individual.
- Alcohol intake: Alcohol is not good for health, but for an addict, it should be limited to not more than, one 12-oz beer per day for females over 55 years and males over 45.
HARMFUL EFFECTS OF UNTREATED HYPERTENSION:
Hypertension is known to damage the heart, blood vessels, brain, and kidney without any noticeable symptoms. It is among the major prevailing causes of heart disease and strokes, leading to death in the USA.
Hypertension can cause other disorders like atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and systemic vascular restriction. In the heart, it elevates afterload, which enhances ventricles to work harder to eject blood, myocardial hypertrophy, along with fibrosis and muscle damage. In kidneys, it may cause thickening of kidney arterioles, causing them to produce more renin, thus elevating blood pressure even more.
TREATMENT OF HYPERTENSION OR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE:
Prevention is better than cure, is something known to everyone. A healthy lifestyle is necessary in order to maintain normal blood pressure. But for some reason, if conditions worsen, then the right treatment plan is a must. Remember to consult your doctor or a pharmacist before taking any medication.
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, it is necessary to take the right medications. Healthy lifestyle plans are also significant to bring your numbers down. Here is the list of 4 major antihypertensive drugs that saved the lives of many patients by helping in treating hypertension.
- Diuretics: These drugs decrease blood volume by eliminating extra water and salt in the urine and help reduce blood pressure. The most important diuretics are THIAZIDES and LOOP DIURETICS. Thiazides are enough for mild hypertension, but the loop diuretics are often used in the treatment of moderate, severe, and malignant hypertension.
- ACE Inhibitors (Angiotensin-converting Enzyme inhibitors):They affect a high BP level by decreasing aldosterone secretion, helping the formation of Angiotensin II, and thus promoting vasodilation. It includes drug: Captopril. Another drug is Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) that act by inhibiting the binding of angiotensin to its receptor site. It includes drugs like Losartan and its several analogs.
- BETA Blockers:It helps in reducing hypertension by inhibiting renin’s secretion, reducing heart rate, and contractility. These include drugs like Aliskiren.
- VASODILATORS:They help to dilate the smooth muscles of the arterial wall, decreasing systemic vascular resistance. Important categories of vasodilators include:
- Ca+2 channel blockers that slow down the inflow of Ca+2 into vascular smooth muscles decreasing heart’s workload thus heart rate. These include drugs like Nifedipine, Verapamil, Diltiazem.
- Nitric oxide producers are older vasodilators that effect arterioles more than veins. They are used for chronic therapies. These include drugs like Hydralazine used rarely in high doses due to toxicity and Nitroprusside given parenteral, is a short-acting drug used in emergencies.
- Potassium channel openers are the agents that cause vasodilation by hyperpolarization and relaxation of smooth muscles. These include drugs like Minoxidil which is a prodrug used in severe conditions and its metabolite minoxidil sulfate is a potassium channel opener. Another drug is diazoxide, given parenteral, and has a duration of action of several hours.
- Dopamine1 receptors activators cause marked arteriolar vasodilation. It includes drug Fenoldopam that is a short-acting emergency drug.
What is the serious health problems associated with hypertension?
Answer: There are various serious problems associated with hypertension. Some of them are heart failure (heart cannot pump blood), ischemic heart disease (tissues in hearth doesn’t get blood and oxygen), and hypertensive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (abnormal functioning of heart muscle), kidney diseases, stroke, and eye disease.
What are the main causes of High Blood Pressure?
Answer: The main cause of high bp symptoms in most people is still not clear. Inactivity, poor diet, overweight, older age, and genetics — can all lead to high blood pressure.
What do you mean by Systolic and Diastolic BP?
Answer: The reading taken from your body to measure BP is in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). It is called systolic pressure, which is the force of the blood against the arteries near your heart, whereas diastolic pressure is defined as the blood pressure between every heartbeat. For example, if blood pressure and heart rate reading is 120/80 mmHg, or “120 over 80,” then systolic pressure is 120, and the diastolic pressure is 80.