Hypertension (HTN) or High Blood Pressure
Hypertension (HTN) or high blood pressure is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. It is classified as either primary (essential) or secondary. About 90-95% of cases are termed “primary hypertension”, which refers to high blood pressure for which no medical cause can be found. The remaining 5-10% of cases (Secondary hypertension) are caused by other conditions that affect the kidneys, arteries, heart, or endocrine system.
Persistent hypertension is one of the risk factors for strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and arterial aneurysm, and is a leading cause of chronic kidney failure. Moderate elevation of arterial blood pressure leads to shortened life expectancy. Both dietary and lifestyle changes as well as medicines can improve blood pressure control and decrease the risk of associated health complications.
Blood pressure is usually classified based on the systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Systolic blood pressure is the blood pressure in vessels during a heart beat. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure between heartbeats. A systolic or the diastolic blood pressure measurement higher than the accepted normal values for the age of the individual is classified as prehypertension or hypertension.
Hypertension has several sub-classifications including, hypertension stage I, hypertension stage II, and isolated systolic hypertension. Isolated systolic hypertension refers to elevated systolic pressure with normal diastolic pressure and is common in the elderly. These classifications are made after averaging a patient’s resting blood pressure readings taken on two or more office visits. Individuals older than 50 years are classified as having hypertension if their blood pressure is consistently at least 140 mmHg systolic or 90 mmHg diastolic. Patients with blood pressures higher than 130/80 mmHg with concomitant presence of diabetes or kidney disease require further treatment.
Hypertension is also classified as resistant if medications do not reduce blood pressure to normal levels.
Exercise hypertension is an excessively high elevation in blood pressure during exercise. The range considered normal for systolic values during exercise is between 200 and 230 mm Hg. Exercise hypertension may indicate that an individual is at risk for developing hypertension at rest.
Mild to moderate essential hypertension is usually asymptomatic.
Accelerated hypertension is associated with headache, drowsiness, confusion, vision disorders, nausea, and vomiting symptoms which are collectively referred to as hypertensive encephalopathy. Hypertensive encephalopathy is caused by severe small blood vessel congestion and brain swelling, which is reversible if blood pressure is lowered.
Some signs and symptoms are especially important in newborns and infants such as failure to thrive, seizures, irritability, lack of energy, and difficulty breathing. In children, hypertension can cause headache, fatigue, blurred vision, nosebleeds, and facial paralysis.
Some additional signs and symptoms suggest that the hypertension is caused by disorders in hormone regulation. Hypertension combined with obesity distributed on the trunk of the body, accumlated fat on the back of the neck (‘buffalo hump’), wide purple marks on the abdomen (abdominal striae), or the recent onset of diabetes suggests that an individual has a hormone disorder known as Cushing’s syndrome. Hypertension caused by other hormone disorders such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, or growth hormone excess will be accompanied by additional symptoms specific to these disorders. For example, hyperthyrodism can cause weight loss, tremors, heart rate abnormalities, reddening of the palms, and increased sweating. Signs and symptoms associated with growth hormone excess include coarsening of facial features, protrusion of the lower jaw, enlargement of the tongue, excessive hair growth, darkening of the skin color, and excessive sweating. Other hormone disorders like hyperaldosteronism may cause less specific symptoms such as numbness, excessive urination, excessive sweating, electrolyte imbalances and dehydration, and elevated blood alkalinity.
Hypertension in pregnant women is known as pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia can progress to a life-threatening condition called eclampsia, which is the development of protein in the urine, generalized swelling, and severe seizures. Other symptoms indicating that brain function is becoming impaired may precede these seizures such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, and vision loss.
Essential hypertension is the most prevalent hypertension type, affecting 90-95% of hypertensive patients. Although no direct cause has identified itself, there are many factors such as sedentary lifestyle, stress, visceral obesity, potassium deficiency (hypokalemia), obesity (more than 85% of cases occur in those with a body mass index greater than 25), salt (sodium) sensitivity, alcohol intake, and vitamin D deficiency that increase the risk of developing hypertension. Risk also increases with aging, some inherited genetic mutations, and having a family history of hypertension. An elevation of renin, an enzyme secreted by the kidney, is another risk factor, as is sympathetic nervous system overactivity. Insulin resistance which is a component of syndrome X, or the metabolic syndrome is also thought to contribute to hypertension. Consuming foods that contain high fructose corn syrup may increase one’s risk of developing hypertension. Recent studies have implicated low birth weight as a risk factor for adult essential hypertension.
Secondary hypertension by definition results from an identifiable cause. This type is important to recognize since it’s treated differently than essential hypertension, by treating the underlying cause of the elevated blood pressure. Hypertension results compromise or imbalance of the pathophysiological mechanisms, such as the hormone-regulating endocrine system, that regulate blood plasma volume and heart function. Many conditions cause hypertension, some are common and well recognized secondary causes such as Cushing’s syndrome, which is a condition where the adrenal glands overproduce the hormone cortisol. In addition, hypertension is caused by other conditions that cause hormone changes such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and adrenal gland cancer. Other common causes of secondary hypertension include kidney disease, obesity/metabolic disorder, pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, the congenital defect known as coarctation of the aorta, and certain prescription and illegal drugs.
What to do for hypertension (high blood pressure) to get it down to avoid cardiovascular disease and a heart attack.
The treatment for hypertension should not include taking prescription drugs if possible as our bodies were not designed/created to have foreign substances. Instead changing ones life should be the number one priority and taking natural health supplements to go along with the change in lifestyle. There are some natural suspended gel health supplements which will do wonders to get control of your high blood pressure (click on the images), with a natural diet to lose weight as an appetite suppressant, essential minerals and essential vitamins, fucoidan and iodine to boost your immune system, and a natural stress reducer. And of course, taurine will naturally reduce high blood pressure or hypertension.