Risk factors of High Blood Pressure
Monday, Jun 21,2010, 3:18:32 PM Click:
we don't know exactly what causes high blood pressure, but there are certain things that can put you at a higher risk of having high blood pressure. Some you can control; others you can't. They include:
* Family and personal medical history - If a close relative has high blood pressure, you yourself may have a higher risk. If you have diabetes or kidney disease, if you smoke, or if you're a woman who's pregnant, you may also face a higher risk.
* Age - In general, as we get older, our risk of developing high blood pressure increases.
* Race - African Americans have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure.
* Obesity - Excess weight increases your risk of high blood pressure.
* Lifestyle - If you don't get much exercise, you're at a higher risk of having high blood pressure. Drinking too much alcohol can also raise blood pressure.
In addition, that in certain sodium-sensitive people, using too much salt may contribute to high blood pressure. Certain medications can also raise blood pressure, therefore, anyone with high blood pressure should make sure they tell their doctor about any prescribed and/or over-the-counter medicines they're taking, such as steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), nasal decongestants and other cold remedies, diet pills, antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
AHA recommends a blood pressure screening by a healthcare professional at least once every two years. If a screening reveals elevated blood pressure, your doctor will decide on the appropriate follow-up and treatment.
Sometimes, high blood pressure can be controlled through changes in lifestyle and diet, cutting back on salt or sodium for example, or losing weight. A special diet, called DASH for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was developed by NHLBI. Basically, the DASH diet is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat and emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy foods. The DASH diet is also low in red meat, sweets and sugar-containing drinks. It is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber and protein. this special diet has been found to lower blood pressure, especially when people also reduce their sodium intake much lower than the currently recommended maximum of 2,400 milligrams a day. Exercise is often suggested for people with high blood pressure. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Your doctor may decide, however, that (along with diet and lifestyle changes) medication is needed as well. There are a number of different types or classes of medications to control hypertension. they include:
* Beta-blockers - These reduce nerve impulses to the heart and blood vessels. They are designed to make the heart beat less often and with less force, so that blood pressure drops and the heart doesn't work as hard.
* Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors - These prevent the formation of a hormone called angiotensin II, which normally causes vessels to narrow. They are designed to make the blood vessels relax so that pressure goes down.
* Angiotensin II receptor antagonists also called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) - These shield blood vessels from angiotensin II (the hormone that causes vessels to narrow). As a result, the vessels are wider and pressure lowers.
* Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) - These keep calcium from entering the muscle cells of the heart and blood vessels, so that blood vessels relax and pressure goes down.
* Diuretics - These are sometimes called "water pills" because they work in the kidney and flush excess water and sodium from the body through urine. This reduces the amount of fluid in the blood. And, since sodium is flushed out of blood vessel walls, the vessels open wider. Pressure goes down. There are different types of diuretics. They are often used with other high blood pressure drugs.
* Alpha blockers - Alpha blockers reduce nerve impulses to blood vessels. That allows blood to pass more easily, causing the blood pressure to go down. an alpha blocker may not be the best choice for initial treatment for uncomplicated high blood pressure.
* Alpha-beta blockers - Alpha-beta blockers work the same way as alpha blockers but also slow the heartbeat, as beta blockers do. As a result, less blood is pumped through the vessels and the blood pressure goes down.
* Nervous system inhibitors - Nervous system inhibitors relax blood vessels by controlling nerve impulses. This causes the blood vessels to become wider and the blood pressure to go down.
* Vasodilators - Vasodilators directly open blood vessels by relaxing the muscle in the vessel walls, causing the blood pressure to go down.
* Renin inhibitor - Renin is a kidney enzyme associated with blood pressure regulation. a renin inhibitor should not be used during pregnancy.
One thing antihypertensives have in common is that they may have side effects. They may also interact with other medications you take, both prescription and over-the-counter. Therefore, it's important for your doctor and pharmacist to be aware of any other medications you may be using.
different people respond in different ways to these medications. Therefore, most patients must go through a trial period to find out which medications work best with the least number of side effects. When taking medication, any side effects should be reported to your doctor, but patients should not decide to stop taking the medicine without their doctor's advice.
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