Health Program

 Hypertension

Definition


Hypertension is high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries as it flows through them. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the body's tissues.


Description


As blood flows through arteries it pushes against the inside of the artery walls. The more pressure the blood exerts on the artery walls, the higher the blood pressure will be. The size of small arteries also affects the blood pressure. When the muscular walls of arteries are relaxed, or dilated, the pressure of the blood flowing through them is lower than when the artery walls narrow, or constrict.


Blood pressure is highest when the heart beats to push blood out into the arteries. When the heart relaxes to fill with blood again, the pressure is at its lowest point. Blood pressure when the heart beats is called systolic pressure. Blood pressure when the heart is at rest is called diastolic pressure. When blood pressure is measured, the systolic pressure is stated first and the diastolic pressure second. if a person's systolic pressure is 120 and diastolic pressure is 80 (120/80).


Hypertension is a major health problem, especially because it has no symptoms. Many people have hypertension without knowing it. Hypertension is serious because people with the condition have a higher risk for heart disease and other medical problems than people with normal blood pressure. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to the following medical conditions:


Risk Factors


  • arteriosclerosis, also called atherosclerosis

  • heart attack

  • stroke

  • enlarged heart

  • kidney damage


Risk Groups


  1. People whose family members have hypertension

  2. Obesity

  3. People who abuse tobacco

  4. People who drink alcohol excessively

  5. People who have a sedentary life style

  6. People who eat excessive salt

  7. African-Americans

  8. People who have renal disease

  9. People who take immunosuppressive drugs

  10. People who have a history of elevated blood pressure


Treatment


The goal of the treatment for hypertension is to lower blood pressure and to protect vital organs for getting damaged. For people with mild hyper tension, the most common treatment is a change in life style. Life style changes need to include: losing weight if overweight or obese, quit smoking, eating a healthy diet (more fruit, vegetables, low fat dairy products, and less saturated and total fat), reducing amount of sodium in your diet to 2,300 milligrams a day (that is less than a tablespoon full), getting regular exercise at least 30 minutes a day several days a week, and limiting your alcohol intake (two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women).For severe hypertension the same life style changes apply and also medications. The medications include: Angiotensin – converting enzyme, angiotensin II receptor blockers, diuretics, Beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers.


Statistics


  1. People with uncontrolled high blood pressure are: 3 times as likely to develop coronary heart disease, 6 times as likely to develop congenital heart failure, and 7 times more likely to have a stroke.

  2. Nearly 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. have hypertension.

  3. Of the 58 million affected almost 30%were unaware, 42% were not being untreated, and 69%did not have their hypertension under control.


Prevention


Prevention of hypertension centers on avoiding or eliminating known risk factors. Even persons at risk because of age, race, or sex or those who have an inherited risk can lower their chance of developing hypertension. The risk of developing hypertension can be reduced by making the same changes recommended for treating hypertension:


  • reducing salt intake

  • reducing fat intake

  • losing weight

  • getting regular exercise

  • quitting smoking

  • reducing alcohol consumption

  • managing stress