Hypertension is known as the silent murderer. I think this is partly correct, but what really “kills” is the lack of information and awareness of the seriousness of this disease. Usually considered a blip, related to emotional states (“My pressure is nervous”), and it really is: disease. The purpose of this page is to give information, help to raise awareness and ultimately to learn to live freely with their disease.


Hypertension as a risk factor

The hypertensive disease rarely presents in isolation but usually have other risk factors (are those that, when present, influence the development of heart disease). The most important are the high cholesterol, Diabetes, overweight, smoking, physical inactivity and family history of hypertension.

What is blood pressure?

The heart acts as a pump that sends the body around 5 pints of blood per minute. When the heart contracts, forces blood into the arteries. Achieved the highest pressure is called systolic or maximum. When it relaxes, lower pressure is called diastolic or minimum.
Normal pressure for an adult is less than 120/80 mm Hg o “12/8” (mm Hg [millimeters of mercury] is the unit of measurement for blood pressure).

What is hypertension?

The first and most important thing to note is that hypertension is a disease of the arterial wall, characterized by an increased thickness to changes in structure and increase in resistance.

Is also, with high cholesterol and smoking, the main risk factor for developing coronary heart disease (myocardial infarction or angina de de pecho). It is considered that a person has high blood pressure when after repeated checks of blood pressure, this is equal to or greater than 140/90 mm Hg o “14/9”.

Importantly, you can not make the diagnosis of hypertension or determine its severity with a single measurement of blood pressure.

In summary, Hypertension is a disease of the arterial wall, a risk factor for developing cardiovascular complications and a figure equal to or greater than 140/90 mm Hg o “14/9”.

What is the cause of hypertension?

In most cases the cause is unknown, but there is a genetic or hereditary component that causes a person to develop it at some point in their lives. This risk is further increased when both parents are hypertensive. In a small percentage of the cause is secondary to diseases of the kidney, adrenal glands and some medications. Finally, an important cause is excessive alcohol consumption.

What medicines can raise blood pressure?

Some drugs, as amphetamines, Nasal Drops, corticosteroids and chronic use of NSAIDS and oral contraceptives, may produce an increase in pressure. Chronic use of NSAIDS, to which patients are usually associated with blood pressure, may cause increased blood pressure by inhibiting the production of a vasodilator substance, Prostaglandins.

You will often see in patients who had their blood pressure controlled, becomes more difficult to control by the use of these drugs. In this case it is advisable that you tell your doctor what drugs you are taking to adjust the dose or to indicate drugs that do not produce this effect on blood pressure.
Nasal decongestants can cause high blood pressure because they contain vasoconstrictors that relieve nasal congestion but can result in increased blood pressure.
Oral contraceptives can cause hypertension in 5% cases. Associated with hypertension in overweight women or those who are older than 35 years old. If you are hypertensive and are taking, the first thing to do is confirm that they are the cause of your hypertension, in which case you should consider whether there is another form of contraception that is best for you.

“My pressure is nervous”

When you ask the patient what you think is the cause of your hypertension? The answer is almost always the same: “My pressure is nervous”. Regrettably, this is the belief of the vast majority of hypertensive patients and suggests that hypertension is due to an emotional state rather than what it really is: a disease of the arterial wall thickening of the muscular layer (vascular hypertrophy).

These anatomical changes that make a person hypertensive overreact to stressful situations (release of catecholamines) and its pressure reaches very high values.
An example: two people suffer the same stress situation; while the average person has a slight elevation of its pressure (its normal artery), hypertensive people presents “a peak blood pressure” (secondary to the diseased artery wall). The stress is similar in both, the difference is in the arteries.

Dr. James R. Sowers

Cardiological Foundation Argentina

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