Cardiovascular Diseases
Hypertension
​Overview:
  • High blood pressure is a common condition which occurs when there is a continuous and long-term pressure on your artery walls. 
  • High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, but can cause serious health problems such as: stroke, heart failure and kidney failure.
  • The cause of hypertension is the increased workload on the heart and blood vessels.
  • The detection of hypertension depends on measurement readings.
  • Hypertension can be controlled through adopting healthy lifestyle and taking medication (if necessary). 

Definition:
It is the force of blood flow through the blood vessels. The heart works harder and the blood vessels pressure more, making it a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and other serious problems. The amount of pressure is determined by the amount of blood pumped by the heart and the size of the resistance of the arteries to the force of blood flow. Hypertension is generally a disease that develops over years, and despite the above, high blood pressure can be detected early to control it.

The tissues and organs need oxygenated blood to do their work and survive. When the heart beats, it creates the pressure that drives the blood through a network of blood vessels in the form of a tube, which includes the arteries, veins and capillaries. This pressure is the result of two forces:
    • The first force (systolic pressure), a force that pumps blood to the heart throughout the body.
    • The second force (diastolic pressure), which is the blood pressure that occurs between the heartbeats.
Each of them is represented by the following readings:

Blood Pressure Category
Systolic (mmHg) 
Diastolic (mmHg)
Optimal Blood Pressure
Less than 120
Less than 80
Normal
120-129
80-84
Prehypertension
130-139 
85-89 
Stage (1) Hypertension
140-159
90-99
Stage (2) Hypertension
160-179
100-109
Stage (3) Hypertension
Higher than 180
Higher than 110

When your blood pressure is too high for too long, it damages your blood vessels, and LDL (bad) cholesterol begins to accumulate in your artery walls. This increases the workload of your circulatory system while decreasing its efficiency. 

Other names:
Silent killer. 

Causes:
The primary way that causes high blood pressure is by increasing the workload of the heart and blood vessels — making them work harder and less efficiently.
There are two causes of high blood pressure:
    • Unknown cause (primary or essential):
      • ​It is the most common, tends to develop gradually over many years.
    • High blood pressure (secondary) caused by:
      • Some kidney or hormone problems.
      • Thyroid problems.
      • Obstructive sleep apnea.
      • Certain defects you're born with (congenital) in blood vessels.
      • Certain medications.
      • Taking drugs or alcohol. 
Risk Factors:
  • Family history.
  • Ageing. 
  • Race.
  • Obesity.
  • Smoking.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Stress.
  • Too much salt in your diet.
  • Chronic diseases: such as diabetes and others.
  • Sedentary lifestyle, not being physically active. 
Symptoms:

Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high level, but some people may have:
    • Headache.
    • ​Shortness of breath.
    • Nosebleeds.
But these signs and symptoms aren't specific and usually don't occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.

When to see a doctor?
When doing a routine test at least once every two years, starting at age 18 or when there is a risk factor.

Complications:
  • Blood vessel bulging. 
  • Stroke.
  • Heart failure. 
  • Heart attack.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Vision loss (blindness). 
  • Impotence. 
  • Peripheral arterial disease.
  • Troubles with memory and concentration.
Diagnosis: 
  • Family history.
  • Medical history.
  • Follow up blood pressure readings.
  • Lab analysis. 
  • Some tests to rule out any cause or risk factor for high blood pressure.
Treatment:
Based on the diagnosis, a treatment plan will be developed that includes:
    • Change in lifestyle such as: Physical activity and adopting a healthy diet.
    • Priority for the drugs to control high blood pressure.
 
Prevention:
Healthy lifestyle is one of the most important ways to prevent and control blood pressure including:
    • Exercising.
    • Maintaining a healthy weight.
    • Eating a healthy diet.
    • Controlling anxiety and tension.
    • Refraining from smoking and alcohol. 
    • Reducing the intake of caffeine.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
  • Is diastolic pressure more serious than systolic pressure?
    • Systolic pressure is more serious than diastolic; the effect of its elevation is directly related to the performance of the artery, both of which are equally dangerous.
  • Can high blood pressure be cured permanently?
    • It cannot be cured permanently, the dosage of medication can be reduced after the desired result has been obtained (according to the treating doctor).
  • Are there any certain instructions before measuring blood pressure?
    1. Check the accuracy of the device.
    2. Measure the blood pressure twice daily, repeat it two or more times to confirm that the results are correct.
    3. Don't measure your blood pressure right after you wake up. 
    4. Avoid food and tobacco for 30 minutes before taking a measurement. 
    5. Sit quietly before and during monitoring. When you are ready to take measurement, sit for five minutes in a comfortable position, with relaxed legs and ankles, and your back supported against a chair, don't talk while taking your blood pressure.
    6. Make sure your arm is positioned properly.
    7. Place the cuff on bare skin, not over clothing.
    8. Take a repeat reading, write them down.
Misconceptions:
  • Stop taking medication when blood pressure reading is controlled at normal level.
    • Fact: You cannot stop taking medication when the pressure is low.
  • Only not using salt reduces high blood pressure.
    • Fact: Besides taking pressure medications, reducing the amount of salt   helps lower blood pressure.
 



 



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Last Update 04 December 2018 03:47 PM
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