Hypertension - Cause and Treatment

Hypertension or high blood pressure does not cause people to have a short temper as some might think. 

Hypertension - Cause and Treatment

In fact, high blood pressure has no symptoms. Studies indicate that about one in three American adults have high blood pressure, but because there are no symptoms, about one in three of these people are not aware of it. If left untreated, it can lead to heart disease, kidney damage or stroke.
These reasons are why hypertension has been labeled as the silent killer. The only way to tell if you have hypertension is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Although research intensive and costly was conducted on hypertension, determine the exact cause of hypertension has been elusive.

Physicians were able to determine the specific cause of hypertension in about 90 to 95 percent of all cases. This type of hypertension is labeled as primary or essential hypertension. Although the precise cause of primary hypertension has yet been identified, the researchers were able to find common attributes in people with primary hypertension.

Studies indicate that primary hypertension occurs only for those with a daily intake of salt that exceeds 5.8 grams. Heredity and race were shown to be factors in 30 percent of cases that have been studied. People with a family history of hypertension were twice as likely to get it. And the number of cases of hypertension was greater among African Americans. In addition most of these test subjects showed an increase of strength or rigidity of their peripheral arteries. This rigidity has been linked to genetic factors, obesity and lack of exercise, excessive intake of salt and old age.

About 5 to 10 percent of hypertension cases can be attributed to any specific cause and is called secondary hypertension. The chronic kidney disease, oral contraceptives, adrenal gland tumors, chronic alcohol abuse and coarctation of the aorta are known causes of secondary hypertension. Coarctation of the aorta is the most common cause of secondary hypertension in children.

Doctors have not been able to find a cure for primary hypertension, but were able to determine the processes that could lower blood pressure to levels that prevent the complications of hypertension. Secondary hypertension can be controlled by treating the underlying cause. If you are a person with mild or moderate hypertension that has no damage to the heart or kidneys, you might want to consider a change in your lifestyle. These changes include maintaining a healthy body weight by reducing the amount of salt you consume, quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption. Some doctors recommend aerobic exercise for 20 minutes at least 3 or 4 times each week. A plan that has been shown to reduce blood pressure is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan. This eating plan is from DASH clinical study, which was paid for by the National Institutes of Health. This diet consists of fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods. This diet is low in fat and cholesterol; and high content of calcium, potassium, magnesium and protein. Something else you might want to consider is a relaxation technique such as meditation, yoga, biofeedback and hypnosis.

People with moderate or severe hypertension will probably have to use one of several drugs that have been developed to treat hypertension. These drugs include beta-blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). People with heart failure, diabetes, or asthma should use beta blockers with caution. If you have heart failure, kidney disease or diabetes, then you should use ACE inhibitors. Situations involving more severe hypertension may require a combination of two or more of these drugs. These medications mustbe taken on a daily basis since only the control and cure hypertension.

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