blood pressure is in itself not the problem; but the
fact that an elevation of blood pressure increases the
risk of developing heart disease,
hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis or
arteriosclerosis), eye damage, and stroke
High blood pressure does not mean excessive
emotional tension, although emotional tension and stress can
temporarily increase blood pressure. Hypertension means high pressure
(tension) in the arteries. For the general population, a blood
pressure of 140/90 or greater is regarded as hypertension. Normal
blood pressure is below 120/80; blood pressure between 121/81 and
139/89 is called "pre-hypertension", and a blood pressure of 140/90 or
above is considered high..
The American Heart Association estimates
that high blood pressure affects approximately one in three adults
in the United States - 73 million people. High blood pressure is
also estimated to affect about two million American teens
and children, and the Journal of the American Medical Association
reports that many are under-diagnosed. Hypertension is clearly a
major public health problem concern.
Two forms of
high blood pressure have been described:
hypertension occursmore and
accounts for 95% of hypertension. The risk for developing
essential hypertension is multifactorial, that is, there are
several factors whose combined effects produce hypertension. These
include obesity, overweight, diabetes, age, race, family history,
high salt diet, lack of exercise, poor physical fitness,
alcoholism, smoking, stress and inactivity. In secondary
hypertension, which accounts for 5% of hypertension, the high
blood pressure is secondary to (caused by) a specific abnormality
in one of the organs or systems of the body; usually kidney
diseases, endocrine diseases, congenital diseases and some others.
The elevated blood pressure is in itself
not the problem; but the fact that an elevation of blood pressure
increases the risk of developing heart disease,
disease, hardening of the
arteries (atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis), eye damage, and
(brain damage). For that reason, the diagnosis of high blood
pressure is important so that efforts can be made to normalize
blood pressure and prevent these complications.
As far as the management of hypertension
is concerned, the reader has a critical role to play and the
physician has a part to play. On the part of the reader, some
lifestyle changes and modifications have to be made.
least 45 minutes a day
weight loss if obese or overweight.
eliminate salt intake.
intake of alcohol and the use of cigarettes.
diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products
while reducing total and saturated fat intake. The DASH (Dietary
Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet is one way of achieving such
Go for regular blood
pressure check ups with your physician.
The role of the
physician is vast and way beyond the scope of this article. If you
have been diagnosed with hypertension, you need a personal
physician whose directives and prescription you should follow
closely. Till next time