Updated: May 12, 2019
Hypertension is a condition manifesting high blood pressure, commonly seen in adults. It is referred to as Essential Hypertension when the cause is unknown. There are factors associated, although frequently it follows a hereditary trait.
A stress on adequate drug and non drug treatment with constant monitoring of blood pressure is essential as a constantly high blood pressure can cause damage to many organs including the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes.
Hypertension is responsible for 7.6 million deaths and 92 million disabilities when left untreated or inadequately treated.
Mechanism of Hypertension
Hypertension can be Primary wherein environmental, genetic, and metabolic factors are present, or Secondary when a specific disease or abnormality forms 2% of detected high BP.
Environmental factors include:
High salt diet
Metabolic factors include:
The secondary causes of hypertension are Pregnancy, Aortic Coarctation, Renal diseases, Endocrine diseases and Drugs such as steroids, pain relieving drugs and contraceptives.
Types of Hypertension
The diagnosis of hypertension usually requires three readings spaced at intervals of 2 weeks. The pressure reading should be taken in a comfortable position and state of mind.
Hypertension can be classified based on severity as:
A specific type of hypertension exists wherein only the systolic pressure rises and it is known as Isolated Systolic Hypertension.
Treatment of Hypertension
Certain natural remedies can be suggested in case of Prehypertension and even in people who have a strong hereditary background of hypertension however these remedies are ineffective in cases of full blown hypertension and secondary hypertension wherein the root cause has to be identified and treated.
The natural remedies mentioned here are scientifically proven for treatment of early and mild hypertension and as Preventive measure for full-blown cases.
Reduce Salt intake - The facts behind this can be easily understood. If you place 2 tablespoons of salt in a container and add a little water, you will notice the salt takes up the water leaving it denser with lesser volume. A similar phenomenon occurs in hypertensive people and not in normal people. In normal people, the kidneys work efficiently to get rid of unwanted salt however in hypertensives, the blood flow to kidneys is restricted and so the excess salt remains. Another fact is that, excess salt triggers certain control centers such as the Renin-Angiotensin system that results in drawing of water into vessels further causing increased blood pressure.
Attain a Healthy Physique - As mentioned earlier, obesity is a trigger for hypertension basically owing to the higher demand on the heart for oxygen and nutrients. Moreover, an increased unhealthy appetite leads to high levels of sugar, fat and possibly alcohol that further leads to fat deposition and narrowing of the blood vessels, atherosclerosis, that accelerates the blood pressure. It might be surprising to know how fast this process begins after intake of unhealthy fast foods. Another factor closely associated with obesity is a sedentary lifestyle. Our heart pumps blood according to the need of our organs. When speaking of a sedentary individual, the muscles are at rest and organs bored and therefore just the bare minimum necessary resulting in a lesser cardiac output and heart rate than when the same individual pursues some activity. This also means that the flow of blood through the vessels facilitates fat deposition and therefore atherosclerosis. Therefore reducing weight and regular exercise are necessary for control and prevention of hypertension.
Reduce Stress - Stress is a factor that can cause practically any disease and is never desired by any individual but rather accustomed to it. It points to a state of mind that is constantly troubled leading to a change or adjustment. Stress is a normal part of life when short lived and results in physical, emotional and mental impacts that commonly go unnoticed when long term. Stress becomes problematic mainly through release of adrenaline that acts by speeding up the heart rate and increasing the blood pressure.
Avoid Smoking, Alcohol and excess Caffeine - These act as stimulants of centers, pretty much similar to adrenaline, in addition to other harmful effect.
Complications of Hypertension
The talk of complications concerns long-term uncontrolled hypertension and not early cases. The common ones are discussed here:
Imagine a fluid passing through a tube, when the flow increases or the pressure increases, the stream of fluid tends to dash against the walls of the tubes causing minor cuts. A similar phenomenon occurs with hypertension leading to dilation of the vessels and thereby Aneurysms.
Due to the associated factors particularly unhealthy lifestyle, lipid deposits accumulate on the walls of vessels resulting in Atherosclerosis.
A high blood pressure results in more blood reaching the heart and this leads to Enlarged chambers of the heart, particularly left ventricle, and Heart Failure.
High blood pressure also results in atherosclerosis and blood not being able to reach heart tissues, thereby Coronary Artery Disease and Heart Attacks.
Although risk in severe hypertension, damage to the brain can occur due to the increased speed of blood passing through vessels in the brain meaning reduced nourishment resulting in Ministrokes/Transient Ischemic Attacks, Stroke, and disturbed brain functions such as memory, language, reasoning, vision, movement and hearing.
Our eyes require vessels to supply nutrition to tissues in the orbit. High blood pressure in these vessels results in damage to the vessels and thereby Retinopathy, Choroidopathy, and Optic Neuropathy.
This rather vital organ is often depreciated and its role understood when concerning conditions such as hypertension. Due to the high pressure, fluid is filtered at a lesser degree resulting in accumulation of fluids, salts and waste. The accumulation deteriorates the kidney function resulting in Kidney failure, Aneurysms and Kidney Scarring.
To avoid the onset of any complications and to lead a healthy life, we hereby stress on the necessity of proper medications, regular blood pressure monitoring and healthy lifestyle when facing Hypertension.
This information is brought to you by Specialized doctors in Al Arif Heart and Children Medical Center, Al Mujarrah, Sharjah, UAE. Keep yourselves fit as a fiddle.