Hypertension-A silent killer-By Dr.Deepti M
The increased pressure of the blood in the blood vessels is called hypertension. Nowadays, there are millions of people throughout the world, who are becoming the victims of this dreadful disease. Yet, they are unaware of the serious implications that this condition poses on their health. Sometimes, people are also not aware, that they have hypertension. In majority of the people, it is diagnosed accidentally, during routine health check-ups.
What are the types of Hypertension?
The normal blood pressure of a person is 120/80 mmHg. If the blood pressure of a person exceeds 140/90 mmHg, when taken on three separate occasions of a week, it is called hypertension.
It is a condition, which predisposes to hypertension. When the systolic blood pressure of a person (pressure when the heart contracts) is between 120 to 139 mmHg, and the diastolic pressure of a person (pressure when the heart relaxes) is between 80 to 89 mmHg, it is called Pre-Hypertension.
This is a type of hypertension, when the blood pressure of a person is above 180/110 mmHg. In this type of hypertension, brain and eyes are not severely affected.
It is a type of hypertension, when blood pressure is above 220/130 mmHg. It leads to swelling of the brain, and the eyes. It also makes a person unconscious.
Why is hypertension caused?
There are two main types of hypertension. They are, Primary or essential hypertension, and Secondary hypertension.
There is no known reason for it to occur. Such diseases are called idiopathic. This is the most common type of hypertension, which is seen among many people. According to medical researchers, there is some role of genetics, or your genetic make-up in causing this type of hypertension, but there is no evidence for it.
Although, it is seen in fewer people, when compared to primary hypertension, there are many diseases, which lead to this condition.
Diseases, which are related to endocrine system, kidneys, blood vessels lead to this hypertension.
Both, Hypothyroidism, and Thyrotoxicosis, which are the diseases of the thyroid gland lead to hypertension, but hypothyroidism is the most common cause. Some other diseases of the endocrine system like Cushing’s syndrome, Conn’s syndrome are also major causes for this condition. Sometimes, tumors like Phaeochromocytoma also lead to hypertension.
Presence of cysts in the kidneys, called Polycystic kidney disease; Inflammation of the kidneys, called Glomerulonephritis; and the narrowing of the blood vessels of the kidneys, called Renal artery stenosis, also lead to this condition. The narrowing of major blood vessels in the body like aorta, also leads to this type of hypertension.
What are the symptoms of Hypertension?
There are many symptoms of hypertension. Headache is, one of the most common symptoms of hypertension. Mostly, the pain is produced at the back of the head. It also produces dizziness or lightheadedness, and the feeling of ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, sometimes.
As, the heart needs to pump the blood, against the high pressure in the blood vessels, heart becomes enlarged, which is called left ventricular hypertrophy. The blood vessels of the heart, can’t supply enough blood to the entire heart, as the size of the heart increases. So, this produces chest pain, which is called angina.
The kidneys also get damaged, by the high blood pressure. So, they fail, which is called kidney failure, or chronic renal failure. Even, the eyes get damaged by this condition, and they develop hypertensive retinopathy. This leads to blurring of vision, or decreased eyesight.
Lastly, the most important complication of hypertension is Hemorrhagic stroke. In this condition, the blood vessels of the brain get burst and blood leaks in the brain. This is, in fact, a life threatening condition, as the person goes into shock, and coma.
How is Hypertension treated?
Nowadays, there are many drugs available in the market, to treat hypertension. The most important drugs are Ace inhibitors, Beta blockers, Diuretics, calcium channel blockers, alpha selective blockers, etc.
Diuretics increase loss of water from the body through urine, which reduces the blood pressure. All the other drugs, block certain receptors on the cells of the body, and reduce the blood pressure. Atenolol, Metoprolol, Telmisartan, Losartan, Nimodipine, Nifedipine, are some of the most commonly used anti-hypertensive drugs.
Can hypertension be prevented?
Well, hypertension can be prevented, for sure. We need to make some changes in our diet, and lifestyle, to prevent hypertension. We should eat many servings of fruits in our diet. We should restrict the amount of salt, that we consume everyday. We need to avoid foods rich in fats, and oils.
We need to avoid some substances, which damage our blood vessels, like cigarette smoking, and alcohol. We need to exercise for sometime, everyday. Physical activity plays a major role in preventing many ailments. Now, follow all the prevention measures and stay away from this silent killer-By Dr.Deepti M