Hypertension – the silent killer
Hypertension in simple terms means high blood pressure. Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood pumped by your heart and by the size and stretch-ability of your blood vessels. When we are young and healthy our blood vessels stretch and contract easily based on how much blood is pumping through them.
What is Hypertension and what causes it?
Essential (or primary) hypertension is hypertension that has no known cause. Causes may be related to genetics, the enviroment, hormones or how much sodium (salt) you have in your diet. If you have a close family member who has been diagnosed with hypertension there is a greater risk that you will also develop hypertenstion, unless you make the changes needed to prevent it.
What are the Risk Factors for Hypertension?
Although a single cause for hypertension is not known, there are several risk factors that increase your chances of developing hypertension. The more risk factors a person has the higher the associated risk of hypertension. Hypertension can lead to other diseases as well as make other conditions worse.
Alternative Health Management of Hypertension
Many forms of alternative health management have been shown to be effective in reducing blood pressure. These methods are endorsed by both alternative and medical health management groups.
Anti-Hypertensive Medications and Side Effects.
Below is a list of common anti-hypertensive medications and some of their side effects. This is not meant to be a complete and comprehensive list, just general categories of medications with common side effects. Please consult with your pharmacist or doctor for any serious side effects or questions regarding your specific medications.
Hypertension and Diabetes
People who have both hypertension and diabetes are at an even greater risk for developing secondary diseases such as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a disease that causes plaque build-up and hardening of the blood vessels, especially the arteries.
Hypertension and Stroke
Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, and the number one leading cause of disability. The amount of money spent in rehabilitation of stroke victims each year is astounding. What is good about this is that medicine has been able to lessen the impact of some strokes because the family knew the signs and symptoms and got immediate medical treatment.
Lifestyle Management and Medical Treatment of hypertension
Now that you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension what’s next? How do you control the disease and manage the symptoms so that you aren’t at risk for secondary diseases because of the hypertension? This answer depends on what your risk factors are and whether or not you can control your hypertension with lifestyle changes or if your doctor feels you need to take medications along with the lifestyle changes.
The risks of untreated hypertension
Hypertension is often undiagnosed and is extremely damaging because most people don’t have any symptoms until they are in a crisis. Often a person only experiences a mild headache or occasional dizziness and then suddenly the doctor is telling them that they have hypertension and it has already caused other problems..
Why should I treat my hypertension if I don’t feel bad?
Because hypertension is a silent disease you may feel fine but be a walking time-bomb. Most people don’t even have any symptoms or may only experience a mild headache and then suddenly they are in a crisis or were diagnosed with a secondary disease caused by the hypertension.