Hypertension is a chronic disease also known as high blood pressure because the arterial blood pressure is increased. It is usually insidious because the symptoms are not clearly seen until it reaches a level where it becomes a risk to the life of a person. My great-grandmother died of hypertension and my grandmother has the disease. My father also has the disease which he tries to control by use of medicine and proper diet. Surprisingly, one of my uncles also suffers from the disease; the reason that made him to quit drinking alcohol. Thirty percent of patients are never aware that they have the disease and affects people at an older age.
A dynamic view on hypertension disease
Blood pressure is the exerted force by the blood on the walls of the blood vessels. Therefore, if the blood vessels become thin or narrow, the pressure exerted on them increases leading to high blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension, is therefore defined as, a heart disease that occurs due to the narrowing of the arteries thus the blood flowing through them does this at a very high pressure. Hence, for the heart to sustain enough blood flow in the body, after the arteries become narrow, it must use much force. This can make the blood vessels and the heart to be damaged and if it persists without being treated, it results to diseases such as stroke, heart attack or failure and kidney problems.
The elevated pressure also cause the hardening and thickening of the blood vessels making them more flexible and fats accumulate in them. The hardening of the blood vessels is known as atherosclerosis; results in the reduction of blood flow in the body and the blood vessels may burst causing internal bleeding (Fejerman 325). Essential hypertension is a type of high blood pressure whose cause is not known while secondary hypertension is the type whose cause is known, for instance it may be caused by contraceptives or tumors. Hypertension is a very dangerous disease because it can do a lot of harm to the body.
To start with, it can lead to brain problems causing stroke. Secondly, it seriously destroys the blood vessels, which can be a very great risk to one’s health. Besides, the disease can lead to damage of the kidneys; organs that are very essential in excretion process, additionally, kidney failure can lead to high blood pressure. Moreover, the disease does not only cause harm to the internal organs, but it also affect the blood vessels found in the eyes and limbs. This initiates difficulties during movements as well as sight problems. Lastly, high blood pressure can cause erectile dysfunction or impotence due to the damage of the blood vessels that transport blood to the penis.
Risk factors of hypertension
There are many risk factors associated with the cause of high blood pressure. To begin with, age is one of the factors since it affects men at their mid age and women are likely to get the disease after menopause. Race is another factor, whereby, the research indicates that the blacks are more likely to get at an earlier age than the whites. In addition, family history is a risk factor to the cause of the disease because it can be inherited thus has a tendency of running through the family. Another risk is obesity or overweight since more blood will be required in distributing oxygen in the body thus increasing the pressure exerted on the artery walls.
Lack of physical exercises is also another risk factor since, inactiveness in the body leads to increased heart rates, thus making the heart to use great force when pumping blood; the force in the walls of the arteries increases (Lopez 27). Stress and depression, a major risk factor, can heighten the risk of blood pressure if combined with other things like taking alcohol. Those people who use tobacco like the smokers risk their lives because the chemicals found in tobacco damages the artery walls making them to become narrow hence increase in blood pressure.
The heart can be damaged by taking too much alcohol and more to that, alcohol causes the release of some hormones, which increases the flow of the blood as well as the heart rate thus leading to high blood pressure. There are several chronic conditions that increase the risk of the disease and they include diabetes, kidney problems as well as high intake of cholesterol in the body. Recurring associations may occur due to inheritance. This means that if in the family history there was a member who had the disease, then, the other members in that family has got high chances of getting the disease due to the transfer of genes; well studied in genetics.
A program on how to prevent hypertension
There are so many diet and lifestyle interventions being used to eliminate hypertension, prevent it or reduce complications. One of the dietary measures is, to avoid foods that have too much salt because a lot of salt makes the body to retain fluid thus increasing the rate of blood pressure. Foods rich in potassium are essential in the body since potassium ions aid in balancing the sodium ions, which must not be left to accumulate in the body.
Sources of potassium include fruits, fish, milk and green leafy vegetables. Garlic should also be included in the diet because it has been proven to lower the blood pressure, in addition to reducing cholesterol levels. Besides, fish oil, especially from salmon and mackerel, reduces blood pressure. Foods rich in magnesium such as whole grains, beans, nuts and vegetables also aid in lowering the blood level although too much of it can cause the pressure to rise, so only that is enough and healthy to the body should be taken.
Furthermore, calcium is a mineral that aid in reducing high blood pressure levels; contained in foods like milk, yoghurt and cheese. Adults should take a thousand milligrams per day while those over fifty years of age should take about 1200mg daily together with the pregnant women and those breastfeeding, “If calcium intake of the general population were to increase to above 1200 mg, the incidence of hypertension in the elderly might be decreased” (Appel 296).
Foods rich in vitamin D are necessary to reduce high blood pressure because they make an enzyme found in the kidneys to regulate the blood pressure. To reduce complications of hypertension, people should avoid smoking, taking alcohol and reduce stress. To eliminate the existing disease, there are medicines that lower the blood pressure level and of equal importance, proper diet should be taken especially with low salts. “The laboratory evidence that carbohydrate-rich diets can cause the body to retain water and so raise blood pressure, just as salt consumption is supposed to do, dates back well over a century” (Chobanian 289). The disease can be prevented by exercising the body as well as taking foods with low fats.
A healthy lifestyle and doing many exercises help in preventing hypertension since heavy body weight and the disease are highly related. Exercises strengthen the heart thus making it able to pump blood with much ease throughout the body releasing the pressure in the arteries. People who quit smoking or taking alcohol, reduces chances of the disease and for those who already have it, controlling it becomes easier (Winnicki 87). Caffeine has no effect on blood pressure since the body is able to tolerate it. Prescribed medication should be taken seriously because it helps in controlling blood pressure levels. Too much salt in the diet can cause the disease, thus it should be avoided to prevent the disease.
A program for preventing hypertension
- Eating healthy
- Foods with less salt, sodium and fats
- Fruits and vegetables
- Foods rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Doing many exercises
- Reducing fats and carbohydrates in the diet
- Maintaining a healthy body
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid smoking
About one in every five adults has hypertension. It is a very risky disease because it does not have warning or signs. Luckily, one can have the blood pressure checked in the hospital. Incase it is high; there are means for lowering it. If it is normal, one can prevent it from becoming high.
Appel, Lawrence. Dietary approaches to prevent and treat hypertension: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Hypertension. 47(2006): 296.
Chobanian, Aram. The seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. New England Journal of Medicine. 289 (2003): 2560.
Fejerman, Laura. The effect of Genetic Variation in Angiotensinogen on Serum Levels and Blood Pressure: A Comparison of Nigerians and US Blacks. Journal of Human Hypertension, (2006).
Lopez, Gonzalez. Lifestyle modification counseling for hypertensive patients: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 1999-2004. American Journal of Hypertension. 22 (2009): 325.
Winnicki, Mickolaj. Lifestyle, Family History, and Progression of Hypertension. Journal of Hypertension. 24. 8(2006):1479-87.