How to Treat Hypertension
Veterinarian Reviewed on January 13, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
How to Treat Hypertension
Hypertension is a chronic medical condition that involves the cardiovascular system but as the condition progresses, it may also involve all of the systems of the body as well. In hypertension, the systemic arterial blood pressure is elevated.
The heart is the main engine of the body that pumps blood to all of the body parts. Blockages, diseases, narrowing of the blood vessels and many other reasons may cause the heart to pump harder in order to compensate for the decreased blood flow. Hypertension may either be primary or secondary with primary hypertension as High Blood Pressure with no obvious medical cause. Secondary hypertension is an increase of blood pressure due to illnesses of the kidneys, cardiovascular system or the endocrine system.
Causes of Hypertension
Primary hypertension is the most prevalent with no significant medical cause identified. There are many factors however that predisposes a person to primary hypertension such as smoking, Stress, Obesity, alcohol intake, potassium deficiency, Vitamin D deficiency and many other factors. Natural aging can also predispose a person to develop primary hypertension.
Secondary hypertension on the other hand results from a chronic medical condition such as hormonal disorders, kidney disease, metabolic disorders, congenital defects, pre-eclampsia during pregnancy and chronic use of prescription or illegal drugs.
Symptoms of Hypertension
High blood pressure is considered when a reading is above 140/90 mm/Hg. Mild to moderate hypertension usually has no symptoms. In primary hypertension, there are Headaches, drowsiness, vision changes, nausea and vomiting and patients may also suffer from confusion and lack of focus.
In secondary hypertension, there is increased blood pressure along with the symptoms associated with the variety of reasons that cause hypertension. In hypertension caused by hyperthyroidism, there is weight loss, irregularities in heart rate, tremors, increased sweating and a noticeable reddening of the palms.
Treatments of Hypertension
Anti-hypertensive medications are often the initial treatment that is given by physicians in order to reduce high blood pressure in their patients. Reducing blood pressure by at least 5 mm/Hg can significantly reduce the risk of developing stroke, heart disease, dementia, cardiovascular disease and even death. Medications such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor antagonists, alpha blockers, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and direct rennin inhibitors can cause vasodilation which ultimately reduces overall blood pressure.
Aside from the medication, there is also an imminent lifestyle change that a person must do to effectively manage their hypertension. Ceasing smoking, avoiding drinking alcohol and reducing caffeine intake are just some of the changes that any hypertensive person should do. Eating fast food and fried food should also be reduced to eliminate the intake of unnecessary fats into the diet.
Dietary changes are also important; a low sodium diet is a factor in a DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute which is an arm of the NIH. An increase in potassium, magnesium and calcium-rich foods are also encouraged along with the intake of high quality proteins.
Staying active and attempting a weight loss regime may also reduce a person’s blood pressure and will also prevent hypertension from occurring as well. Exercise daily, maintain an active lifestyle and reduce weight if necessary to be able to maintain normal blood pressure. Exercise and cardio training also strengthens the heart muscles and reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular complications.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan