Hypertensive Heart Disease or High blood pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension is a common heart condition which features high pressure of the blood on artery walls. Blood pressure in the arteries is determined by two factors, the amount of blood the heart pumps, and the amount of resistance in the arteries. Significantly, there may be hypertension without any symptoms. Uncontrolled high blood pressure or hypertension may have a disastrous fall-out as heart attack and stroke.
Hypertension is of two types, primary and secondary. Primary hypertension develops in adults over many years. Secondary hypertension tends to appear suddenly due to various conditions as well as medications. The potential causes for secondary hypertension include, obstructive sleep apnea, kidney problems, adrenal gland tumors, thyroid problems, defects in blood vessels, illegal drugs, alcohol abuse and certain medications like birth control pills and pain relievers.
The usual symptoms of blood pressure include headache, shortness of breath or nosebleeds.
RISK FACTORS AND COMPLICATIONS
Age, race, family history, obesity, using tobacco, lack of exercise, excess salt intake, low potassium in food, alcohol abuse and stress may enhance the risk of hypertension. Hypertension or high BP can be found in pregnant women as well. The fall-out or complications are evident as heart attack, aneurysm, heart failure, narrowed blood vessels, metabolic syndrome, and trouble/loss of memory.
TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS
Blood pressure is recorded with a measuring gauge. Two types of pressure are recorded – Systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats, and diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries between the beats. Blood pressure is of four categories: Normal blood pressure (120/80 mm Hg), Prehypertension (120 to 139 mm Hg), Stage 1 hypertension (140 to 159 mm Hg), and Stage 2 hypertension (160 mm Hg or higher)
TREATMENTS AND DRUGS
First step to control hypertension is to bring a little change in the life style that includes having a healthy diet with less salt, exercise daily, quit smoking, limiting alcohol and maintain healthy weight. Medications may be of help only when taken as per the doctor’s directions.