Hypertension – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 by

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, refers to when blood flows through the blood vessels with more force than it normally does.

If a person has hypertension, their arteries and blood vessel walls can get damaged over time. When left untreated, this damage can cause severe complications and even death.

Blood pressure is measured by systolic over diastolic pressure. Systolic refers to the pressure when the heart is beating. Meanwhile, diastolic refers to the pressure when the heart rests between beats. The blood pressure of an average adult is considered normal if it’s below 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

Known side effects of hypertension

Most patients with hypertension don’t experience any side effects so the condition is often called “the silent killer.” However, other people with the condition experience side effects such as:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Feelings of pulsations in the neck or head
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath

Risk factors for hypertension may include:

  • Age – People older than 60 may develop hypertension.
  • Gender – Hypertension is more common among men than in women.
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Heredity – Having relatives with hypertension increases your risk of developing the condition.
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Race/Salt sensitivity – High salt intake or salt sensitivity is more common in African Americans, the elderly, obese people, and patients with renal (kidney) problems.
  • Use of oral contraceptives

Body systems harmed by hypertension

Hypertension may cause the following complications:

  • Atherosclerosis – This condition refers to when the arteries harden. Atherosclerosis may cause blockages and fatal diseases like coronary artery disease.
  • Diabetes – Unlike the other complications caused by hypertension, diabetes can either be the cause or the result of uncontrolled high blood pressure. In some cases, diabetes can get worse in individuals with hypertension since blood pressure influences metabolism, the function of the pancreas, and the kidneys.
  • Eye damage – The restricted blood flow in any part of the body may cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina. Patients with hypertension will gradually develop eye diseases that start with common symptoms like blurry vision, inflammation, and loss of clarity.
  • Heart attacks– Heart attacks are one of the worst complications linked to hypertension. Heart attacks are often deadly, and they occur when the arteries harden and narrow, affecting proper blood flow.
  • Heart failure/congestive heart failure – Heart failure may occur when the heart is over-stressed. The heart can be over-stressed when it has to pump blood through hard and narrow arteries. Heart failure is one of the main causes of death among patients with hypertension since it directly affects the cardiac muscle. This complication includes symptoms such as abdominal distension, difficulty breathing, difficulty sleeping, fatigue/feeling weak, inflammation of the extremities, and urinary incontinence.
  • Kidney/renal disease – Hypertension directly affects the function of the kidneys. The condition restricts blood flow that the kidneys need to function properly. Restricted blood flow will gradually damage the renal system. Also, the arteries placed around them can narrow. This limits their ability to eliminate waste. It also generates irreversible damage.
  • Stroke (brain damage) – A patient may experience a stroke when blood flow is restricted in one of the blood vessels that give blood to the brain. Since blood pressure directly affects blood flow to the brain, people with hypertension have a greater risk of developing this disease.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent hypertension

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent hypertension:

  • Bread (Bagels, English muffins, rolls, and tortillas)
  • Dairy like Greek yogurt, raw milk, or plain yogurt – Foods rich in calcium can help lower blood pressure.
  • Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables (without added salt)
  • Lean meat
  • Low-fat and low-salt cheeses
  • Pasta, plain rice, and potatoes
  • Skinless turkey and chicken
  • Unsalted seeds (e.g., pumpkin, squash, sunflower) and nuts – Seeds and nuts are mineral-rich foods that can help lower blood pressure.

Treatments, management plans for hypertension

Since hypertension is caused by various factors, there are different treatments for the condition. Treatment for high blood pressure focuses on keeping the blood pressure below 134/80 mmHg.

Treatments for hypertension may include:

  • Lifestyle modifications – May include avoiding alcohol, eating a low-sodium and low-fat diet (e.g., the DASH diet), exercise, losing weight (if you are overweight), and quitting smoking.
  • Medications – There are different categories of blood pressure medications and a healthcare professional will help you determine which is best for you. The main types of medication include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II Receptor blockers (ARBs), beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics (water pills).
  • Treatment of underlying conditions that cause hypertension – These conditions include congestive heart failure, diabetes, obesity, pheochromocytoma, and renal artery stenosis.

Where to learn more

Summary

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, refers to when blood flows through the blood vessels with more force than it normally does.

Most patients with hypertension don’t experience any side effects so the condition is often called “the silent killer.” However, other people with the condition experience side effects such as blurred vision, dizziness, feeling of pulsations in the neck or head, headache, nausea, and shortness of breath.

Hypertension may cause complications like atherosclerosis, diabetes, eye damage, heart attacks, heart failure, kidney disease, and stroke.

Bread, dairy, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables (without added salt), lean meat, low-fat and low-salt cheeses, pasta, potatoes, plain rice, skinless turkey and chicken, and unsalted seeds and nuts.

Since hypertension is caused by various factors, there are different treatments for the condition. Treatment for high blood pressure focuses on keeping the blood pressure below 134/80.

Treatments for hypertension may include lifestyle modifications (quitting smoking, weight loss,etc.), medications (beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, etc.), and treatment of underlying conditions that cause hypertension (e.g., diabetes, obesity, etc.).

Sources include

Healthline.com

Medical-Dictionary.TheFreeDictionary.com

MedicineNet.com

StepToHealth.com

My.ClevelandClinic.org



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