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Author Topic: Hypentensive? Don't Ignore That Blood Pressure Spike  (Read 771 times)

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Hypertensive people should not ignore the escalation of their blood pressure every now and then as they are courting big trouble.
 
“Hypertension, per se, does not kill. But the complications are the ones that disable and kill a hypertensive,” says Dr. Rafael Castillo, a cardiologist at the Manila Doctors’ Hospital.
 
To address the problem of high blood pressure, the World Hypertension League initiated a global awareness campaign on hypertension in 2005 and dedicated May 17 of each year as World Hypertension Day. So today is a perfect time to drum up awareness and alertness for the affliction.
 
The World Hypertension League initiated a global awareness campaign on hypertension in 2005 and has dedicated May 17 of each year as World Hypertension Day.
In the Philippines, high blood pressure is an extremely common condition. It affects one of every four Filipinos, according to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute. As lives become more sedentary and stressful, and diets loaded with saturated fats become the norm, high blood pressure is becoming a serious problem.
 
A lifestyle illness
 
Recent studies indicate that there are about 12.6 million Filipinos with hypertension, and half of them are not aware of their condition until they begin to suffer symptoms or complications associated with it.
 
Blood pressure (BP) is written as systolic pressure/diastolic pressure – for example, 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury). This reading is referred to as “120 over 80.” The higher value reflects the highest pressure in the arteries, which is reached when the heart contracts. The lower value reflects the lowest pressure in the arteries, which is reached just before the heart begins to contract again.
 
Dr. Willie T. Ong, an internist-cardiologist, defines high blood pressure as systolic pressure at rest that averages 140 mm Hg or more, a diastolic pressure at rest that averages 90 mm Hg or more, or both. 
 
Many things can cause blood pressure to rise. When we are asleep, our blood pressure is low because our body needs less oxygen-rich blood when it is at rest. On the other hand, when we are exercising, our body's demands are greater, and so our blood pressure increases.
 
“It is perfectly normal for your blood pressure to rise and fall in response to your body’s needs throughout the day,” says Dr. Ong, chair of the Department of Medicine at Our Lady of Peace Hospital.
 
But when your blood pressure goes up and stays up, there’s cause for concern. “Although many people imagine high blood pressure to be a mild condition, left untreated it can lead to a number of serious medical problems,” warns Dr. Robert Buckman, author of “What You Really Need to Know About High Blood Pressure.”
 
“Hypertension is the leading risk factor for heart attack, or myocardial infarction,” wrote Dr. Julian Whitaker, author of “Reversing Hypertension: A Vital New Program to Prevent, Treat, and Reduce High Blood Pressure.”
 
The ever present danger
 
One of the most common and life-threatening complications of high blood pressure is the damage caused to the brain. High blood pressure can affect the normal flow of blood to the brain, which in turn can lead to various complications. This includes transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke, which can be an indicator of a more severe stroke in the future.
 
Other problems are strokes, dementia and cognitive impairment.
 
BP rises fairly steadily between the ages of 20 and 40.  After this, it tends to increase more rapidly. This is particularly among those with one or both parents who had high blood pressure.
 
People who are eating a diet high in salt and fat and low in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus are most likely to have elevated BP, Dr. Ong says. Being overweight also places strain on the heart; that’s why obesity is a significant risk factor for hypertension.
 
The role played by stress in the development of hypertension is still uncertain. But people whose BP soars during stressful situations (like meeting deadlines, late for appointments, etc.) are more likely to go on to develop high blood pressure.
 
“For many people with hypertension, simple lifestyle changes might be enough to lower high blood pressure,” says Dr. Castillo. “But for others, medication must be prescribed to keep the condition in check.”
 
As Dr. Ramon Abarquez Jr., founding president of Philippine Society of Hypertension, puts it: “Once established, hypertension is for life. Compliance to prescribed medication and clinic follow-ups are mandatory to prevent target organ damage.”


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