Hypertension – causes, prevention and treatment

Hypertetion do not in itself give dramatic symptoms, but it is dangerous because it causes a highly increased risk for heart infarction, stroke and renal failure.

THE PREVALENCE OF HYPERTENSION
One out of six persons are hypertensive. Most persons suffering from hypertension is over the age of 35. Still 6% of teenagers are hypertensive and also 1% of every child.

THE SYMPTOMS AND CONSEQUENCES OF HYPERTENSION
Hypertension is often in itself without symptoms. By mild hypertension, flushing and headache can occur.
More serious hypertension gives symtoms like: Fatigue, dizziness, palptations, tachycardia (rapid heart rate) and nosebleeds.
Extreme hypertension gives morning headache, blurred vision, dyspnea (breathing difficulties) and elevated values of certain components in the blood, like urea and serum creatinine.
Hypertension will in the long run hurt the blood vessels, and serious hypertension can do extensive damage to the blood vessels in a few months or years.
The dammaged blood vessels will impair the blood flow. They can also rupture causing a bleeding or be clogged by a blood clot that shuts out the blood flow and causes tissue dammage. These things can occur in the brain, causing a stroke, in the heart causing heart infarction or in the kidneys with renal failure as a consequence.
A renal failure will in the next turn cause the hypertension to aggarvate, partly because a damaged kidney will not manage to secrete water and salt well enough, and partly because a kidney that do not get enough blood will start a hormonal mechanism that induces the kidney to activly hold back salt and water.

THE MECHANISMS AND CAUSES OF HYPERTENSION
The mechanisms causing hypertension is one or more of these factors:
– An increased tension in blood vessel walls.
– An increased blood volume because elevated levels of salt and lipids in the blood that holds back water in the blood.
– Hardened and inelastic blood vessels caused by arteriosclerosis.
The primary causes behind these mechanisms are not fully understood, but these factors may contribute to causing hypertension:
– A high consume of salt
– A high fat consume.
– Stress at work and in the daily life.
– Smoking.
– Over-weight
– Lack of exercise.
– Kidney failure.

LIFESTYLE MEASURES TO PREVENT AND TREAT HYPERTENSION
Lifestyle measures shall always be a component of the hypertension treatment. Sometimes such measures are enough to cure the condition. Those measures are:
– Reducing salt consume.
– Reduction of the consume of fat, and especially saturated fat.
– Weight reduction.
– Relaxing and stress reduction techiques, for example meditation.
– Regular exercise.

SPECIAL FOOD TYPES THAT REDUCE THE BLOOD PRESSURE
Research projects suggest that the following food types reduce blood pressure.
– Fish oil and fat fish. The working substances seem to be the omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The effect from fish oil seems to ceise when the fish oil supplements are stopped.
-Olive oil, especially olive oil of the quality extra virgin.

NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS TO HELP AGAINST HYPERTENSION
Natural supplements to treat hypertension exist. These supplements lower the cholesterole and lipid content in the blood, prevents oxidation of tissue components by free radicals, help damaged blood vessels to heal, and thereby lower the blood pressure.
The ingredients giving these effects are potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C.

MEDICAL TREATMENT OF HYPERTENSION
When lifestyle measures are not enough to cure the condition, medical treatment must be applied.
Diuretica, or medicines to increase the urine production, is used to decrease the water content in the blood vessels, and therby reduce the pressure in the vessels. When the water content is lowered, the heart does not need to pump so hard any more, and this will also reduce the pressure.
Beta-adrenergic blockers is another group of medicines to treat hypertention. This group of medicines block the signals that hormones and neurotransmittors give to the vessel walls, and the vesel walls then relaxe. They also slows down the heart rate to give a lower pressure excerted by the heart upon the blood.

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