About 75 million American adults (29%) have high blood pressure (CDC, 2016), Hypertension or High Blood Pressure, is a common condition where the cardiac output outs
tands the pressure the arterial walls can tolerate. Per the Center for Disease control, the force of blood against the constricted arterial walls in such strength that it may cause long term problems such as cardiovascular disease. The amount of blood the heart pumps and the resistance of the arteries have towards the blood is what determines the blood pressure rate.
If the arteries are constricted while the heart forces blood through it, the rate of your blood pressure rises, causing severe health problems, which can lead to myocardial infarction or stroke.
Unfortunately, hypertension is asymptomatic, which means an individual can have hypertension for many years without any symptoms. Hypertension is a “silent killer,” while there are no visible symptoms continuous damages are occurring to the cardiovascular system, as well as causing severe damage to the central nervous system, renal arteries, and retina while the illness progresses.
How does hypertension affect the Brain? Per the heart.org, hypertension damages the arterial walls throughout the entire body, including the Brain, it weakens the tiny little arteries in the Brain. When the arteries reduce in the Brain, it puts you at a higher risk for two types of strokes. The first is an ischemic stroke that occurs when the arteries in the cerebrum become blocked, caused by the narrowing of the arteries or when they are narrowed, clogged or scarred, and blood could no longer flow to the Brain. Hemorrhagic stroke; is when an artery burst in the cerebral cortex causing a subarachnoid hemorrhage or intracerebral hemorrhage.
Strokes mentioned cause oxygen deprivation to the Brain, generating severe cognitive disabilities, loss of motor skills, vision impairment (retinopathy, choroidopathy, and optic neuropathy), and even death.
Hypertension can also cause kidney failure or damage. The kidneys are one of the vital organs; it works as a filtration system for the body getting rid of toxins and excess fluid from the body. Still, it depends on the cardiovascular system as much as the lather depends on the kidneys. When the nephrons and the arteries become damaged because of the excessive blood force or narrowing of the blood vessels, it cannot deliver enough hemoglobin to the kidneys nor filter the toxins it causes kidney failure. As the kidney fails, it also loses the ability to regulate PH, sodium, and secret the hormone called aldosterone.
Since hypertension develops slowly if the individual is consulting or visits with a physician, it can be detected quickly and managed through medication, nutrition, and exercise; they will also be able to evaluate and indicate if the patient is at high risk. There are many contributors to hypertension, smoking, lack of physical activity, alcohol abuse, poor weight management, and unhealthy diets.
Economic Burden of Hypertension
Approximately 66% of American are at risk of a cardiovascular incident, “only 34% of the 50 million American adults with hypertension have their blood pressure controlled to a level of <140/90 mm Hg (Elliot, 2003).” Since hypertension is such a severe problem in the United States and is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease, renal diseases, heart failures, renal diseases, strokes, and heart attacks, in 2009, it has cost approximately 73 billion dollars in treatments. To reduce the number of expenditures for illness and the number of sufferers, we need to increase programs of awareness, prevention, disease control, and screening for early diagnosis.
Prevention and Proactivity
While there is no cure, using medications as prescribed and making positive lifestyle changes can help enhance your quality of life and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and more (Heart.org, 2017).
create a weekly meal plan; this site can be used as a tool to gear anyone to healthy nutritional habits, designing meals low in sodium with an accurate amount of daily and caloric intake values.
Have no more than one alcoholic beverage a day if female and no more than two if male.
Stop smoking; this constricts airways depriving the lungs and Brain of oxygen as well as the blood vessels, besides it is a nasty habit.
Start an exercise regimen to help manage weight and strengthen the heart and arteries, after consulting your physician, to ensure no injury can occur caused by the condition.
Take supplements such as essential fatty acids that increase heart health and B-vitamins that support stress reduction and improves cardiovascular function and if prescribed medications take as directed by the physician. These are the most efficient way to be proactive about health.
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High Blood Pressure Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). (2016, November 30). Retrieved January 23, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/faqs.htm
Changes You Can Make to Manage High Blood Pressure. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2017, from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/MakeChangesThatMatter/Changes-You-Can-Make-to-Manage-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_002054_Article.jsp#.WIayEneZPow
How High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Stroke. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2017, from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/LearnHowHBPHarmsYourHealth/How-High-Blood-Pressure-Can-Lead-to-Stroke_UCM_301824_Article.jsp#.WIesdHeZPow