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CSMC Today

You Can’t Beat a Healthy Heart

Hypertension

Hypertension is one of the most common conditions which affects nearly one billion people worldwide. To raise awareness about this infamous ailment, May of every year has been proclaimed as the Hypertension Awareness Month (Proclamation No. 1761, s. 2009) to encourage both government and non-government institutions to engage in campaigns and activities to spread public awareness regarding this disease.

What is hypertension?
• also known as high blood pressure
• is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease
• repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury)
• known as a "silent" condition which can cause blood vessel changes in the back of the eye (retina), abnormal thickening of the heart muscle, kidney failure, and brain damage

What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.

What do the numbers mean?
120 = systolic - amount of pressure in your arteries during contraction of your heart muscle when distributing blood throughout the body
80 = diastolic –amount of pressure when your heart relaxes between beats when receiving blood from other organs

The universally known normal blood pressure ranges between 90/60 to 140/90 mmHg. Blood pressure below that range is caused by hypotension (low blood pressure), while above the normal range is caused by hypertension.

Two kinds of hypertension
Primary Hypertension
- also known as essential hypertension
- high blood pressure without secondary cause
- Mostly caused by heredity or stress

Secondary Hypertension
- high blood pressure with underlying causes such as diseases in the kidney, heart or endocrine system

Who are at risk and how is it acquired?
Hypertension can affect anyone with the following risk factors:
 Family history of hypertension
 Sedentary lifestyles
 Unbalanced diet (too much sodium, carbohydrates or sugar)
 Being overweight or obese
 High levels of stress
 Having vices such as smoking cigarettes and/or drinking alcohol

What are the signs and symptoms?
Hypertension usually does not show any signs or symptoms. However, complications may occur when high blood pressure has reached dangerous levels such as:
 Blurring of vision
 Headaches
 Chest pains
 Rupture of blood vessels
 Aneurysm

How can it be treated?
Hypertension cannot be treated, but it can be managed by practicing the following:
 Proper exercise (It may be as simple as brisk walking or jogging for 30 minutes to 1 hour, 3-5x a week)
 Balanced diet (At least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables; less carbohydrates and sodium)
 Reduced food intake during evenings
 Reduced stress and anxiety
 Regular monitoring of blood pressure
 Intake of prescribed medications to control blood pressure

In extreme cases, the hypertensive patient must be brought immediately to the nearest hospital for proper examination and medication.

Sources:
http://www.mayoclinic.org
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com
http://www.world-heart-federation.org

Hypertension