High Blood Pressure - Hypertension - The Silent Killer!
One out of every ten people over the age of 35 has high blood pressure, that is, hypertension, but half of these people are not aware that they have hypertension! Hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, strokes and kidney diseases. Since hypertension does not show symptoms most of the time, its treatment is delayed for a long time and can result in medical disasters that are very difficult to compensate, this is why hypertension is called the Silent Killer.
According to the World Health Organization 2020 data, 1.3 billion people worldwide suffer from hypertension. On the other hand hypertension is responsible for seven and a half million deaths a year, or about 13 percent of all deaths!
Detailed reading:Systemic Hypertension
,The Hypertension Pandemic: An Evolutionary Perspective
While the word "Pandemic" was not in vogue before Covit, many organizations were using the phrase "Pandemic Worldwide" related to hypertension.
What is hypertension? But first, what is blood pressure? Blood pressure refers to the pressure of the blood in the arteries, and Hypertension refers to this pressure being higher than normal.
Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120 by 70 millimeters of mercury. The number 120 refers to the pressure reflected in the veins when the heart contracts, the second number 70 refers to the pressure in the veins at the point where the heart relaxes. A persistent blood pressure of 140 to 90 is considered hypertension requiring treatment. The tension between 12/7 and 14/9 represents a transition period.
The hypertension described here is scientifically called Essential Hypertension, meaning blood pressure that is not due to any specific cause.What are the causes of Hypertension?
If a person's parents have high blood pressure, there is a high probability of developing hypertension over time.- Aging:
With aging, there is a decrease in the elasticity of all tissues, like lines and wrinkles on the skin, the elasticity of the vessels also decreases, which means that the adaptability of the vessels to pressure changes decreases.- Stress:
Stress is hypertension's best friend. When stressed, hormones such as Cortisol, Adrenaline and Noradrenaline, called stress hormones, are secreted from the adrenal glands. The first effect of these hormones is that they cause vasoconstriction, that is, shrinkage in the vessels, and the pressure increases in the constricted vessels. On the other hand, cortisol has a water and salt retention effect in the body. Therefore, stress is a very serious and very dangerous factor that feeds hypertension through various mechanisms.- Malnutrition:
Eating processed foods containing high amounts of salt and salt-like chemicals, animal proteins and fats, trans fats are very important factors that negatively affect blood pressure. Obesity, which occurs in parallel with malnutrition, also fuels hypertension, and many scientific studies show that there is a one-to-one harmony between hypertension and obesity.- Inflammation:
Some factors such as malnutrition, stress, smoking and air pollution cause inflammation in the veins. Significant deteriorations occur in the adaptation capabilities of the inflamed vessels and in the synthesis of nitric oxide, and this paves the way for hypertension.- Inactivity:
A sedentary lifestyle causes decreased blood circulation, impaired blood supply to tissues, and a series of negative biochemical developments and hypertension.Symptoms of hypertension:
Hypertension often does not show any significant symptoms and is often found incidentally during a routine examination. In fact, although not very specific, hypertension begins to manifest itself with some mild symptoms. Headache, neck pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, drowsiness, nosebleeds, chest pressure may be symptoms of hypertension.
The most important damage of high blood pressure is that it directly affects the organs rich in blood vessels such as the heart, kidneys, brain and eyes, and gradually destroys their structures. The effect of hypertension on vessels and organs rich in blood vessels is as follows: Vessels exposed to high pressure begin to thicken to protect themselves, this is called Vascular Hypertrophy, further, high blood pressure causes damage and ruptures in the extremely sensitive inner layer of the vessels, namely the endothelial layer.
Thickening of the veins and damage to their inner surfaces cause extremely serious vessel damages called Arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis causes a number of malfunctions in thickened, narrowed and damaged vessels and may cause heart attacks over time.
On the other hand, the involvement of arteriosclerosis in the brain vessels can result in much more terrible things, often even a small one of the brain vessels is occluded or cracked, causing irreparable brain hemorrhages and strokes. Likewise, the kidneys and eyes, which are very rich in vessels, are very affected by high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. Uncontrolled hypertension is one of the most important causes of kidney failure and blindness.
As can be seen, hypertension is an extremely dangerous formation that wears out all vessels and organs. These are the long-term consequences of hypertension that develop over many years. However, unknown, undiagnosed or uncontrolled hypertension can have very serious acute and unexpected consequences. The first heart attack or brain hemorrhage that can be seen at a young age is an example of these."The real age of man is the age of his veins."
Indeed, the health of the vessels is a factor that greatly affects general health and life expectancy. And the factor that closely concerns vascular health is blood pressure. In the last 20-30 years, hypertension has started to be seen more frequently in younger ages due to unhealthy diet and increasing stress level as a necessity of modern life. However, unfortunately, young people do not see this disease as possible for themselves, they see high blood pressure as a disease of mothers, fathers and even grandparents. This is an extremely dangerous approach, do not trust the youth and have the blood pressure checked frequently. There is a higher risk, especially if there are parents or close relatives with hypertension in the family, such as aunts and grandparents. In addition, if there are factors such as malnutrition and stress, it is of great benefit to be more careful in this regard.
The treatment of hypertension, which has become a worldwide pandemic and has very important health consequences, first begins with a due diligence. After the causes and type of hypertension are determined, it is time for treatment, but since everyone's living conditions and body are different, this treatment should be tailored to the individual with a careful approach.
A blood pressure of 140/90 millimeters of mercury and above is considered to be the blood pressure that requires treatment, but the truth of the matter is not to start medications immediately, as is often done. It is a good starting point for high blood pressure patients to measure their blood pressure 4 times in the morning, noon, evening and night for three days and record the results once. An alternative method is to attach a Holder device to the patient for 24 hours and during this period collect the information such as, when the blood pressure rises, and how much it rises, and then proceeds to the treatment phase.
In the meantime, some factors such as smoking, alcohol, salt consumption, general nutrition, stress and activity level of the patient are determined and taken into account in the preparation of the treatment program. If the hypertension is mild or moderate in the first stage, treatment is started with the elimination of these risk factors and a healthy diet. At that stage, drug use is not started. The treatment is continued by observing the patient for a while. If the hypertension is more advanced, drug use is started from the first stage, but the patient's condition is followed by taking the previously mentioned precautions.
There are many effective drugs used in the treatment of hypertension:
- Diuretic Drugs: They lower blood pressure by reducing blood volume and providing salt excretion.
- Beta Blocker Drugs: they are effective by slowing down the heart rate and making the heart work more economical.
- Ace Inhibitors and ARB Group Drugs: They reduce blood pressure by reducing the effect of the "Angiotensin" hormone that increases blood pressure.
- Calcium Channel Blocking Drugs: they are effective by reducing the contraction force of the heart and expanding the vessels.
- Alpha Blocker Drugs: They reduce blood pressure by showing a very strong dilating effect on the vessels.
As can be seen, these drugs act on blood pressure by different mechanisms. The duty of physicians is to determine the most suitable drug for the patient and to arrange treatment accordingly.
The primary aim of drug therapy in hypertension is to protect the patient against some disasters that may develop suddenly. The second stage is to eliminate the long-term effects of hypertension and to protect the patient from them.
However, the real treatment is to bring the patient in a state where they will not need any drug! Drug treatment is very important in the treatment of hypertension, but more important is to eliminate the factors that cause hypertension in the patient.Foods to avoid in hypertension:
- Excessive amounts of salt and salty foods,
- "Salt-like" chemicals found in processed foods (mono sodium glutamate - MSG),
- "Salt-like" chemicals found in cola soft drinks (sodium benzoate),
- Alcohol, excessive amounts of coffee, energy drinks,
- Artificial sweeteners,
- Trans fats,
- Processed meats (sausage, salami, bacon, sausage).
It is better to avoid these foods that can increase blood pressure as much as possible.
Nutrition is a very important factor in the treatment of hypertension. American Medical Association (AMA) and American College of Cardiology associations recommend DASH diet to keep hypertension under control. This diet is like a Western version of the very healthy Mediterranean diet.
Previously, it was pointed out the role of inflammation in the development of hypertension, from now on, the recommended foods will be foods that are very rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and also suppress and treat inflammation. For more detailed information on inflammation, see the page on this topic.
Another feature of the recommended diet is that it is very rich in potassium. Potassium is the antidote to salt, and potassium deficiency is as important as excess salt in the treatment of hypertension.
Detailed reading:Potassium Intake, Stroke, and Cardiovascular Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies
,Potassium Intake, Bioavailability, Hypertension, and Glucose Control
,Some Potassium-rich foods:
- Spinach and Green Salads,
- Red beet,
- The fish,
- All kinds of Vegetables.
If attention is paid, these foods are in line with the Mediterranean style diet, which has the highest healthy life expectancy.
There are also foods that should be included in the diet, especially those that lower blood pressure:
- Red beet,
These foods provide extremely healthy decreases in blood pressure with their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and nitric oxide synthesis properties.
Detailed reading:Potential benefits of garlic and other dietary supplements for the management of hypertension
,Dietary Nitrate from Beetroot Juice for Hypertension: A Systematic Review
,Potent Antihypertensive Action of Dietary Flaxseed in Hypertensive Patients
,Vasculoprotective Effects of Pomegranate
In addition to the recommended diet, levels of Vitamin D, Magnesium and Zinc are also very important. Although these substances do not have a direct blood pressure lowering effect, scientific studies show that these substances are very important in balancing hypertension. Therefore, having vitamin D, Magnesium and Zinc levels checked and supplementing them if necessary will be beneficial in terms of hypertension treatment.
Detailed reading:The Impact of Vitamin D in the Treatment of Essential Hypertension
,The Role of Magnesium in Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease
,Zinc deficiency induces hypertension by promoting renal Na+ reabsorption
As it is seen, hypertension is not a disorder that can be treated using a single drug. Hypertension treatment can only be possible with a systematic evaluation of the patient, selection of drugs according to the type of hypertension, elimination of risk factors, and a healthy hypertension diet.The main lines of a healthy hypertension diet can be determined as follows:
1- First of all, carefully staying away from the foods listed under the heading of foods to be avoided,
2- Not to forget that smoking, among other harms, raises blood pressure by 10-15%,
3- Giving great importance to stress control in controlling hypertension,
4- Giving great importance to sleep patterns in controlling hypertension,
5- To have the levels of Vitamin D, Magnesium and Zinc checked, if they are low, to support them with additives,
6- Reducing the consumption of animal protein and fat by 50%, increasing the consumption of vegetables, fruits and salads by 50%,
7- Trying to lose weight if there is excess weight (See our pages on easy weight loss, fasting and intermittent fasting)
8- Include the foods listed under the title of foods that lower blood pressure in the daily nutrition program,
9- To practice intermittent fasting from time to time.
We cannot emphasize enough the dangers of hypertension and the importance of its treatment! Get your blood pressure measured at the first opportunity and visit a doctor if necessary.
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