By Dra. Lourdes Alcántara
Defined as the blood pressure is the result of two forces. One is created by the heart when it pumps blood to the arteries and through the circulatory system. The other is the force of the arteries when they resist blood flow.
The larger (systolic) number represents the pressure when the heart contracts to pump blood throughout the body, and the smaller (diastolic) number represents the pressure when the heart relaxes between beats.
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, even when the pressure reaches dangerous levels. In fact, many people can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. That is why he has been called “the silent killer”. Although some people in the early stages of hypertension may have mild headaches, dizziness, or nosebleeds, however, typically, these symptoms do not occur until the hypertension has reached severe stages.
High blood pressure is the medical term for high blood pressure, and does not refer to being tense, nervous or hyperactive. In fact, you can be calm and relaxed and still have high blood pressure, which is why you are called the hot enemy.
Having a single high blood pressure reading does not mean you have high blood pressure, but it is a sign that observation is required. Certain diseases like kidney disease can cause hypertension, but in 90 to 95 percent of cases, the cause is unknown. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to check your blood pressure.
PRIMARY OR ESSENTIAL HYPERTENSION:
For most adults, there are no identifiable causes of high blood pressure. This type of hypertension tends to develop gradually over the years.
Some people develop hypertension from an underlying condition. It tends to appear suddenly, causing higher pressure levels than primary hypertension. Various conditions and medications can cause secondary hypertension.
- Renal problems
- Renal gland tumors
- Certain defects of the blood vessels at birth (congenital)
- Certain medications such as birth control, flu, decongestants, pain medications, and prescribed medications
- Illegal drugs like cocaine and amphetamines.
The risks to have high blood pressure increase with age. In early middle age, high blood pressure is more frequent in men. While women are more likely to develop hypertension after menopause.
It is particularly common in blacks, usually in the early stages, contrary to what occurs in whites. Complications such as stroke and heart attack are also more frequent in blacks.
It has a very defined family pattern.
OVERWEIGHT OR OBESITY:
The higher the weight, the more blood is needed to supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. The greater the volume of blood circulating, the greater the pressure on the walls of the arteries.
Inactive people tend to have a high heart rate, so the heart has to work harder with each contraction, and the force on the arteries is greater. Lack of physical activity also increases the risk for being overweight.
Not only does smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raise blood pressure temporarily, but tobacco chemicals can damage the inner layer of the arterial wall, causing them to become narrow, thereby increasing blood pressure. Secondarily, smoking can raise blood pressure levels.
A LOT OF SALT (SODIUM) IN THE DIET:
Too much salt can cause the body to retain fluids, which increases blood pressure.
LITTLE POTASSIUM IN THE DIET:
Potassium helps to balance the amount of sodium in the cells, if there is not enough potassium in the diet or enough potassium is retained, too much sodium builds up in the blood.
LITTLE VITAMIN D IN THE DIET:
Vitamin D can affect an enzyme produced by the kidneys that affects blood pressure.
DRINK LOTS OF ALCOHOL:
Drinking too much can damage the heart over time, causing the body to release hormones that increase blood flow and heart rate.
This can lead to a dramatic and temporary rise in blood pressure.
CERTAIN CHRONIC CONDITIONS:
high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease and sleep apnea.
Sometimes pregnancy contributes to high blood pressure. (Toxemia of pregnancy).
children can be affected, too. Sometimes it is caused by kidney or heart related disorders. For an increasing number of them, poor lifestyle habits, such as an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, contribute to hypertension.
COMPLICATIONS OF ARTERIAL HYPERTENSION (11)
Blood vessels and body organs can be damaged. The higher the pressure and the longer it lasts without being controlled, the greater the damage to the tissues.
HEART ATTACKS OR STROKE:
Causing hardening and thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), causing heart attack, strocke, and other complications.
Blood vessels weaken and bulge, forming aneurysms, which if ruptured can be life threatening.
To pump blood over the high pressure in the vessel walls, the heart muscle thickens, making it harder for the heart to pump enough blood and supply the body’s needs, leading to heart failure.
STRENGTH AND WEAKENING OF RENAL BLOOD VESSELS:
Originating malfunction in said organs.
THICKENING, STRENGTH OR TORTION OF THE EYE GLASSES:
Causing loss of vision.
MEMORY AND UNDERSTANDING PROBLEMS:
It can affect the ability to think, remember and learn.
Blood pressure is measured with an inflatable cuff on a pressure gauge. The blood pressure reading, expressed in millimeters of mercury (mmhg), has two numbers. The first, or higher, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (systolic). The second, or lower, one measures the pressure of the arteries between beats (diastolic pressure)
Blood pressure measurement falls into 4 general categories:
NORMAL BLOOD PRESSURE:
It is considered normal when it falls below 120/80 mmhg. Although some doctors recommend figures of 115/75 mmhg, since once they exceed these figures, the risks of cardiovascular diseases increase.
It is defined as a diastolic pressure between 120 to 139 mmhg or a diastolic pressure that goes from 80 to 89 mmhg. Prehypertension tends to worsen over time.
HYPERTERSION STAGE I:
When the systolic pressure goes from 140 1 159 mmhg or a diastolic pressure from 90 to 99 mmhg
STAGE II HYPERTENSION:
More severe, with a systolic pressure of 160 or more and a diastolic pressure of 100 or more. Both blood pressure readings are important. But after age 50, the systolic pressure reading is even more significant. Isolated systolic hypertension (when diastolic pressure is normal but systolic is high), is the most common form of hypertension in these patients.
For the diagnosis of Hypertension, you should take 2 to 3 readings at each appointment, in 2 or more separate appointments. This is because the pressure varies normally during the day, and more specifically during the doctor’s visit, what has been called white coat hypertension. Valuable additional information comes from taking the pressure off at home or work.
When diagnosing any type of hypertension, routine tests such as urine, blood tests, and an electrocardiogram (which measures the electrical activity of the heart) are recommended. Additional tests such as cholesterol are also recommended to check for more signs of heart disease.
PRESSURE CHECK IN THE HOUSE:
It is an easy and important way to check if the treatment is effective or if the problem is getting worse. Blood pressure monitors are widely available and do not require a prescription to obtain.
TREATMENT OF ARTERIAL HYPERTENSION (111)
The goal in treating hypertension depends on how healthy you are. If you are 80 years of age or older and your blood pressure is very high, you could set a goal slightly higher than 140/90 mmhg.
Lifestyle changes may work well in controlling high blood pressure, although sometimes these changes are not enough. In addition to diet and exercise, the use of medications may be necessary.
Alpha and Beta blockers
Angiotensin 11 receptor blockers
Calcium channel blockers
Write down any symptoms one has: such as chest pain, shortness of breath, etc., a family history of hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke or diabetes or any major stressor.
Make a list of all medications, as well as vitamins supplements that are being taken.
Bring a close family member or friend to the doctor’s appointment. It is an aid to remember data or information that you may forget.ar.