#HighBP: I like really ‘hate you’!

Hate HighBP-Hypertension

This Article was featured in the #HighBP edition of HALA Magazine. Free Download here

The Body’s stakeholders meeting against Hypertension!

Meeting minute’s summary: ‘’Our profound dislike and disapproval of hypertension is no longer a hidden secret!’’.

These are the very words of some body parts who are stakeholders in its internal health affairs as they protested against hypertension.

On getting them to speak individually on the subject, each gave elaborate reasons explaining their grievances which are stated below:

The Brain

High B.P is a major culprit in causing strokes as it increases the risk of a stroke occurrence by up to ten times the normal chances depending on the severity of the high blood pressure and other additional risk factors. It is also responsible for causing problems like cerebral atheroma, transient ischaemic attack, hypertensive encephalopathy and dementia.

The Eyes

For me, it is just one word; ‘’retinopathy’’, actually hypertensive retinopathy is what it is called. Uncontrolled hypertension literally causes injury to the blood vessels within the retina of the eyes. Vision eventually gets blurred in most cases.

The Heart

Nobody likes the word ‘failure’ but that is exactly what hypertension always aims at causing me to do; ‘’to fail’’; it is referred to as heart failure.

You wonder at how it does this? Hypertension causes an increase in the heart’s workload by increasing the resistance against the pumping force of the left ventricle leading to hypertrophy (enlargement) of the heart muscles and therefore weakening the entire blood pumping system.

It could also damage the (coronary) artery directly responsible for supplying blood to the heart resulting in oxygen and nutrient reduction. Therefore problems such as ishaemic heart disease, angina (chest pain), heart attack and death may occur. And oh, not forgetting aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm where it disrupts the largest blood vessel in the body!

The Kidneys

We cannot begin to fully explain the damage hypertension does to us. Suffice it to say that it causes what is known as ‘’chronic kidney disease’’ in which case there is proteinuria and uraemia especially when it is long standing.

Many times if left unchecked, it makes this disease progress to a point of no return in what is termed an ‘’end stage kidney disease’’. In fact statistics show that 30% of all end stage kidney disease is traceable to hypertension.

The Blood Vessels

Obviously, the reason why the major stake holders who have complained so far have problems is because hypertension first succeeds in hitting us hard. Without wasting too many words we will state our case in simple and straight forward terms;

  • In large vessels (arteries > 1mm ),  It causes:
    • Thickened internal elastic lamina
    • Smooth muscle hypertrophy
    • Fibrous tissue deposition

All these result in tortuousity and reduced compliance of the vessels.

  • In small vessels ( arteries < 1mm ),  it causes:
    • Hyaline arteriosclerosis
    • Lumen narrowing & aneurysms

Dealing with the issues and complications of Hypertension

Naturally, after hearing all the preceding complaints, the intelligent question will be; how can this ‘silent terrorist phenomenon’ called hypertension be dealt with? Well, here are the answers you seek:

The first thing you should know is that hypertension can be kept in check if discovered early enough before it begins to cause serious damage. Regular blood pressure check is advised especially when there is a known case of hypertension among family members.

Presently, easy to operate and affordable electronic blood pressure apparatus are available so that you can self-check and report any suspicious values to your doctor.

Once hypertension is detected, management can be instituted immediately.

Regular blood pressure check is advised especially when there is a known case of hypertension among family members.

The objective of managing hypertension is focused on reducing the risk of complications and improving survival. It is divided into two aspects; the non-drug aspect and the drug treatment.

The (Non-drug) lifestyle adjustments

  •  Relief of Stress – People diagnosed to be hypertensive should avoid unnecessary tension. Behavioural and daily life modification to ensure this is advisable.
  •  Diet – Alcohol consumers should reduce intake, obese people should set out to shed some weight, food should have only moderate salt content (addition of table salt to meal is not advisable), and intake of cholesterol and saturated fat should be restricted.
  • Regular exercise – this improves physical fitness and can lower blood pressure but must be done within the patient’s heart status. Isotonic exercises such as fast walking, jogging and swimming are better than isometric exercises like weight lifting.
  • It should also be noted that formal relaxation and meditation have also proved good in a small group of affected people.
  • Smoking is strongly discouraged.

 Drug aspect

Consult your doctor for appropriate medications. Also see more advice from the expert here.

, , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private. (See Policy)