April 4, 2012

Health Minute With CASI – Hypertension

Blood pressure is expressed by two different numbers. The higher number represents Systolic blood pressure, which is the pressure in the arteries when the heart actively pumps blood. The second value is for diastolic pressure, which is the artery pressure when the heart is relaxed. Normal systolic blood
pressure values vary from 100 to 140 millimeters of mercury. Normal diastolic blood pressure values varies from 60-90 millimeters.

Hypertension is defined as sustained high blood pressure, usually with systolic pressure exceeding 140 or diastolic pressure exceeding 90 millimeters. Most hypertension has no apparent cause. It is called primary or essential hypertension. Kidney disease often causes the other 5 to 10 percent of cases and is known as secondary hypertension.

About 30 percent of adults have “essential” hypertension. This is called a “silent” disease because, unless blood pressure is measured periodically, no one knows it is developing.

A physician usually does not treat hypertension with medication until the diastolic is higher than 90 on three different occasions. But any value over 90 is actually too high and deserves dietary and life style interventions.

Why Control Hypertension?

Hypertension needs to be controlled to prevent heart disease, kidney disease and strokes. All three are more likely to be found with those with hypertension.

Causes of High Blood Pressure

• Atherosclerosis
• Obesity
• African American more likely than Caucasian
• Some Hormone like Compounds
• Enzyme – Renin
• Alcohol use more likely with the African American population
• Sodium
• Family History

Preventing Hypertension

Hypertension prevention can include dietary changes, sodium at 3 grams daily or less. If you know that there is family history, make sure you monitor this. Exercise 3-4 times a week. In addition, consuming a diet that is outlined, especially one rich in fruits and vegetables. This provides ample
potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which may contribute to lower blood pressure.