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The silent killer – Hypertension

The silent killer – Hypertension

Dr. Makemba Shayela Nelson
Director-NESHA Medical Practice.

High blood pressure commonly affects the circulatory system, particularly the arteries, in which the force of the blood pushing against the arterial wall is consistently too high. A measurement of blood pressure of 140/90 or more is considered high blood pressure.

People living with high blood pressure often have no symptoms, even when the blood pressure is extremely high, except a few that might present with headaches, shortness of breath, and at times nose bleeding. However, the symptoms are not specific and often signify life-threatening or severe hypertension.

Primary hyperpigmentation or essential hypertension does not always have identifiable etiologies (causes). Secondary hyperpigmentation often results secondary to an underlying condition such as kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid problems, and adrenal gland tumors just to mention a few.

Several factors might increase one’s risk of developing hypertension such as age (55 years or older), race (commonly seen in people of African descent), and a positive family history of hypertension has been implicated. Obesity, lack of exercise, stress, excessive alcohol consumption, and a lot of salt intake might also place one at an increased risk of developing hypertension. We commonly see pregnant women developing hypertension too while pregnant.

If left untreated, particularly for a longer period, complications such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney problems, and dementia can set in just to mention a few.

Individuals are thus encouraged to regularly have their blood pressure checked by their doctors or healthcare providers to help safeguard against late diagnoses which is often associated with many complications.

The investigative modalities in evaluating hypertensive patients include measuring the blood pressure and doing the electrocardiogram (ECG) to evaluate the heart’s electrical activities. An echocardiogram (heart sonar) might be key in evaluating the anatomical structure of the heart. Blood is often drawn to evaluate kidney function, checking sugar and cholesterol levels as well as a thyroid function test to evaluate the thyroids but just to mention a few.

There is a vast number of different medications that one can use to treat hypertension, often done at the clinician’s discretion. Leading a healthy lifestyle such as eating a healthy balanced diet, exercising, not smoking, and cutting down on alcohol consumption can go a long way toward keeping hypertension at bay.


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