Hypertension is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. Blood pressure is summarized in by two measurements, systolic and diastolic, which depend on whether the heart is muscle is contracting (systole) or relaxed between beats (diastole). Normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 100-140mmHg systolic (top reading) and 60-90mmHg diastolic (bottom reading). High blood pressure is said to present if it is often at or above 140/90 mmHg. For most cases of mild to moderate hypertension there are no symptoms.

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The condition has earned the nickname the “silent killer” since the disease shows no symptoms until it progresses to a stage where permanent damage and severe problems such as heart attacks and strokes can occur. Some people with mild to moderate hypertension experience headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and shortness of breath. Other possible symptoms include irregular heartbeat, fatigue, and impotence. In severe cases of hypertension a person can experience painful headaches, confusion, hallucinations, vision problems, nausea, and vomiting.

People may show signs of symptoms of hypertension without showing additional symptoms of underlying conditions. Because the majority of hypertension cases are primary, meaning that there is no clearly identifiable cause, an underlying condition such as kidney failure or tumors may go unnoticed unless other symptoms are present or unless the patient is required to undergo preventative testing. Hypertension affects certain demographic groups more than others. Studies reveal that the disease occurs at higher rates among populations of older African-American females. In general Hypertension 3 African-Americans are at higher risk for the disease.

The reasons for this trend are generally unknown but might be related to diet lifestyle, and genetic factors. In the United States 41% of blacks have high blood pressure, as compared to 27% of whites. African-Americans develop the disease at younger ages than other groups in the United States and are more likely to develop complications associated with high blood pressure. People who experience high levels of stress are at risk for hypertension-related complications such as strokes and heart attacks. Stress related to work,family, and other factors can cause symptoms to become more severe.

Page 2 Blood Pressure Measurements Essay

Other factors include smoking, increase in age, inactivity, high dietary salt and fat, excessive weight, low intake of potassium, having diabetes, and a family history of high blood pressure. Testing for hypertension is simple. Medical professionals recommend routinephysicals once a year. Your doctor may not be able to diagnose your blood pressure based on one visit. If your blood pressure is high the doctor may ask you follow up questions to determine whether you have a family history of high blood pressure or whether you are experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, or nausea.

You may need to come back to the doctor’s office several times over a period of weeks for follow up blood pressure checks. The blood pressure measurements need to be repeated in order to show accurate results. If your blood pressure is high and the doctor determines that hypertension is a possibility, then additional test may be necessary to check the condition of your organs including your heart and kidneys. You may need to undergo a urinalysis, ultrasound, and echocardiogram. The first line of therapy for people who are diagnose with hypertension Hypertension 4 are diuretics.

If one drug does not work or is disagreeable, additional or alternative medications may be recommended. If your blood pressure is more than 20/10 higher points than it should be, your doctor may consider starting you on two drugs or placing you on a combination drug. If certain medical conditions exist such as diabetes your doctor is more likely to treat your hypertension using angiogenesis-converting enzyme (ACE). Physicians are using new methods of treating high blood pressure. Hypertension is the most common condition for which Americans take prescription medication.

Physicians are currently prescribing fewer diuretics and beta blockers, the recommended first-line agents for hypertension, and more angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and calcium channel blockers (CCBs). Although ACE inhibitors reduce rates of morbidity and mortality in patients with cardiovascular disease, the same cannot be said for CCBs, for which no similar morbidity/mortality data exist. Short-acting dihydropyridine CCBs should be avoided in the treatment of hypertension, and other CCBs should be added to the regimen only if control is not achieved with a beta blocker, diuretic, and/or ACE inhibitor.

The Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT) involved 33,357 men and women older than 55 years with hypertension and at least one other risk factor for ischemic heart disease. Participants were randomized to treatment with a CCB (amlodipine), a diuretic (chlorthalidone), or an ACE inhibitor (lisinopril), with a mean follow-up time of 4. 9 years. The results demonstrated that the thiazide diuretic chlorthalidone was superior to the other medications in preventing nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and heart Hypertension 5 failure, and was significantly less expensive.

However, patients with hypertension can now try a new and effective whole-food approach known as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. The DASH diet is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy products, which results in a diet high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The diet is low in red meat, sugar, fat, and cholesterol. The DASH diet lowers blood pressure more than sodium restriction alone.

Furthermore, a combination of the DASH diet and sodium restriction lowers blood pressure more in patients with hypertension than in those without hypertension. Thus, it seems that patients with hypertension should follow the DASH diet in addition to reducing sodium intake. With annual check-ups and blood pressure screening people who develop hypertension can be treated with medications, change in diet, and exercise. With these three modification they can live a normal life, the key is detection.

Famous people such as singers Natalie Cole and Toni Braxton have been living with hypertension for years. Curly Howard of the Three Stooges had hypertension after gaining a lot of weight. Unfortunately modern drugs for treatment were not available in the early forties for him or President Roosevelt. Curly Howard had a stroke that ended his career. If you have hypertension or develop complications from the disease you can be treated at Scotland Memorial Hospital or the Urgent Care adjacent to the hospital.

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