By: Mubashar Mashqoor Mir : Hypertension arguably being the most pervasive human malady providing fertile soil for other dreaded complications is posing to be the biggest passive threat to the modern medical era. Because of its widespread dissemination in the population and variability it has become almost impossible to precisely demarcate a hypertensive state from a normotensive state .Nonetheless based on extensive research data WHO ISH (2003) recommendations define hypertension as vascular blood pressure above 140/90 mm Hg.
A note must be taken of the fact that hypertension is a sustained concept rather than momentary and clinicians must have the BP checked in at least thee separate visits before declaring a patient hypertensive. With the post hypertensive complications gripping harder and the window of safe blood pressure range getting narrower day by day it has become imperative to value all precautions and prerequisites before examining a patient for hypertension.
Unfortunately, a major chunk of hypertensive etiology is yet a mystery and such idiopathic state is often described as essential hypertension. Rest of it forms the secondary hypertension which may appear as an implication of an underlying endocrinal, cardiovascular, neurological or Reno vascular disorder.
How will I know if I am a hypertensive?
Well if you encounter any of the following symptoms you should visit a doctor and get your blood pressure checked.
Headache. (Especially in the morning hours).
Frequent nose bleeding
Haziness of vision
Lethargy and dizziness.
Unfortunately the picture in clinical setup is quite diverse. Most of the times a patient is diagnosed hypertensive by chance when he comes with some other complaint or presents with a complication arising from a hypertensive insult. Hypertension which may not always pose as an emergency should never be left unaddressed as it may have devastating outcomes in the long run. If you are hosting hypertension there is every chance that other lethal ailments may knock at your door soon. You may soon see yourself entrapped in the vicious circle of diseases like stroke, heart attack, renal failure and many more.
Now when you know about the guests you may expect lets talk about those who invite these guests to you:
Well if you are overweight it is time to pull up your socks and start some hard work. Obesity is one of the most common risk factors for developing hypertension and the point is well verified especially in the developed part of the world.
Sedentary life style:
A white collar job and luxurious life style seems quite a good deal but its kinship with hypertension is too strong to be ignored. Arguably it is the second biggest threat after obesity that the developed nations are facing.
Chronic mental stress:
It is postulated that chronic stress leads to prolonged activation of sympathetic centers and this shifts the normal homeostatic state towards a pro sympathetic set point .As a result the vasoconstrictor component of sympathetic activity presents as increased vascular tone and consequently hypertension.
It has been observed that risk of developing hypertension and associated complications increases by manifolds in diabetics. Both hypertension and diabetes have common triggering factors like obesity, sedentary life style and genetic inclination. Thus many times both conditions may coexist and multiply the risk of developing further complications.
Tobacco smoke again acts as a trigger for hypertension and smoking cessation should be advised in patients who are diagnosed as hypertensive. Besides hypertension it is also chief culprit in etiology of diseases like COPD and pulmonary carcinomas
Increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels are also believed to play a role in the atherosclerotic change taking place taking in the vessel walls which then manifests itself as raised blood pressure .increase in the LDL and VLDL component invariably indicates a forthcoming cardiovascular complication.
Excessive salt intake especially in people with compromised renal clearance and is an important causative factor however restriction of salt intake in those with normal kidney function is yet a debatable topic.
It is unfortunate that hypothesized benefit of red wine as cardio protective entity is promoted by the media but the deleterious effects of alcohol as such are not paid much heed.
There in no doubt that excessive alcohol intake is a harbinger of problems like cirrhosis often leading to hepatic failure and is also a subject of interest in hypertensive pathology.
If you have a chronic renal; ailment you must keep a check on your BP levels. Many physiologists believe that hypertensive pathology almost always indicates towards an altered renal control.
Genetic and racial predisposition:
Hypertension carries a strong familial inclination. It means that if any of your family members is suffering from hypertension you have more chances of developing the same.
Hypertensive is a more common phenomenon in some specific races like in blacks.
How to keep away hypertension?
There are some easy little steps which can help you keep away from landing up into a hypertensive state
Though short duration intensive weight training burns fat fast but most of the fitness experts advice aerobic exercise. Anything like a morning walk stroll for half an hour would be beneficial. You can also add up short sessions of meditation to complement with exercise.
Avoid animal fats which have high levels of cholesterol and saturated fatty acids. Prefer eating skimmed dairy products, fruits and green leafy vegetables. Fish is also beneficial as it has good amounts of omega 3 fatty acids
Don‘t let stress take over:
Arrange tasks in an organized manner and don’t keep them piling up. Talk about your problems with those whom you trust. The biggest step to keep away stress is to accept that you are stressed and get active against it. A few counseling sessions with your psychologist will definitely boost up your energy.
Check your biochemical profile:
You should keep a check on your lipoproteins, glucose and electrolytes levels especially if you come under the high risk group for hypertension.
Avoid smoking and alcohol:
Both smoking and alcohol consumption have a role to play in autogenesis of hypertension besides causing other deleterious effects on the body
Visit a doctor:
Even if you feel that you are healthy make it a habit to spare some time to visit a doctor for at least once in a year and get yourself examined and your routine biochemical screening done. (The author is a scholar of MBBS 3rd year at GMC Jammu and state president Health wing of NSUI)
By: Mubashar Mashqoor Mir
Scholar of MBBS at
GMC Jammu. &
State President ,Health wing NSUI