High Blood Pressure or Hypertension-Learn Basics And A Dietary Treatment, Follow A Low Sodium Diet
By Debbie Benson
Hypertension is a non-infectious disease that can cause complications if not recognized early. This means that people should be very careful about it, and know their blood pressure. This disease is characterized by high blood pressures. Systolic blood pressure of above 140mmHg and diastolic blood pressure of above 90mmHg are termed as hypertension as long as the readings were taken at different intervals at least six hours apart.
Hypertension can be either primary or secondary.
The primary disease has no identifiable cause. However, the primary type is thought to have some genetic predisposition. On the other hand, the second type is associated with causes or conditions that can be identified such as renal diseases or from prolonged use of corticosteroids. Patients have to be taught some of the symptoms that they must watch for so that they can get an early medical intervention that will help prevent them from getting severe complications associated with this condition.
There are high blood pressure symptoms that are very important and should be considered by every person especially those who have close first degree relatives with this condition. The disease has been termed as the "silent killer" because in most cases it is usually diagnosed incidentally, as the routine vital signs are being taken. The disease is associated with headaches, palpitations, and difficulty in breathing. A number of patients will report to the health care centers with symptoms that are suggestive of these complications. This disease is known to affect almost all the major systems in the body.
For instance, a patient may present with hypertensive nephropathy (dealing with the kidneys). Such a patient may be undergoing serious renal pathology and requires intervention. Such patients may have flank pains (pain in the upper abdomen or lower back, below the lower rib, usually on one side), urinary symptoms and laboratory work on the urine may reveal protein in the urine. When the coronary circulation is affected, the patient will complain of angina and difficulty breathing.
Another major complication of high blood pressure is a stroke. This is very serious and should be detected as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the brain. Hypertensive retinopathy is also very serious and the patient may become blind if the pressures are not controlled well. Physicians need to make the right diagnosis based on the high blood pressure symptoms and appropriate investigations.
A number of ways have been adapted to control this disease.
One of these treatments involves dietary approaches. With this disease, there is usually sodium and water or fluid retention in the body. This results in a collection of fluid in various spaces in the body including the peritoneum (the membrane that lines the abdominal wall and organs of the abdomen). Usually, edema or oedema (swelling of tissues in the body) shows often in the feet, ankles and/or legs. This swelling can become very prominent and patients can become very uncomfortable.
The dietary approach that most patients are aware of is salt or sodium restriction. A low sodium diet is usually recommended. In order to reduce the amount of sodium in their bodies, they have to minimize or eliminate the use of table salt and lower their daily sodium intake with the type of food they eat. This helps in relieving edema in the body. Patients have to be counseled appropriately on the right amount of sodium they should have. The doctors also have the authority to offer psychological and nutritional counseling to such patients as well.
Apart from dietary management, there are several blood pressure medications that can be used to deal with the symptoms. Each of the drugs has indications that must be considered when prescribing them. This is because they all have side effects that must be put into consideration. Some drugs are used to protect vital organs like the heart and the kidneys. The main aim of these blood pressure medications is to prevent the complications from occurring and to make the patient as comfortable as possible. If all these treatment plans are designed by a qualified doctor, then patients are likely to live longer. This disease can be controlled as long as the patient follows the doctor's instructions.
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