Hypertension has always posed a significant threat to the public health of the citizens of the United States and other countries as well. This disease has prevailed for many years and has been strongly associated with premature death and heart-related disorders. In 2006, hypertension affected over 73 million U.S adults (Institute of Medicine, 2010). It will be, therefore, not only interesting but also essential to study this disease.
Definition and clinical picture of Hypertension
Hypertension is a disorder associated with high blood pressure. A body’s blood pressure is a measure of the forces exerted on the walls of the blood vessels as a result of blood flow. In that case, an individual is said to have hypertension when this blood pressure is higher than it is typically expected (Cleveland Clinic, 2020). This disease has always been nicknamed a “silent killer” as one may not experience any anomaly, but damages may be taking place in the internal systems.
Unlike other diseases, hypertension does not show any physical symptoms. However, as earlier mentioned, one may be having this disorder without knowing. In that case, one can only tell that they do or do not have hypertension only after having had their blood pressures measured. After knowing their blood pressure status, they can then find out the adjustments they can make to normalize this condition. Blood pressure is normally represented by two numbers; the systolic and the diastolic values. The former number represents the pressure when the heart is beating, while the latter measures pressure when the heart is in its resting state. Normally, human blood pressure is expected to be 110/70 mmHg.
Hypertension diagnosis is often relative to the normal blood pressure value, which is 110/70 mmHg. This means that numbers significantly deviating from this value represent an irregularity in blood pressure. Consequently, there are various stages with respect to abnormal blood pressure; the elevated stage, stage one hypertension, stage two, and finally, the hypertensive crisis. These stages are determined by the following values in the respective order; 120-129/ below 80 mmHg, 130-139/ 80-89 mmHg, 140/ above 90 mmHg, and 180/ above 120 mmHg.
Management and Treatment of Hypertension
Hypertension treatment and management strategies depend on the stage or the severity of the disorder. In that case, it may only require a change in lifestyle if the situation is mild. However, suppose the patient’s blood pressure is in a critical stage, or they might be suffering from other blood-related conditions such as diabetes and renal disorders. In that case, drug therapy must be used as a treatment procedure (Nguyen et al., 2010). With relation to alteration of lifestyle, individuals can start involving themselves in physical activities, avoiding eating foods with high sodium intake or alcoholic drinks, and concentrating on getting rid of excess body weight. Drugs such as diuretics, calcium channel blockers, and beta-blockers are some of the treatment plans that can be incorporated in the pharmacotherapy of hypertension patients.
Hypertension’s inability to detect by looking at the symptoms increases the chances of death of the patient. If left untreated, patients between stages one and two may suffer from atherosclerotic or damages to body organs in a period of between 8-10 years after the onset of the condition. Kidney failure is one of the common organ damages that may result from hypertension.
Although the health sector has developed various guidelines and drug therapies to address hypertension, this disease has continued to be a common disorder not only in the United States but also globally. Although most of us do not focus much on lifestyle modification, I think this treatment strategy should be adopted immediately after diagnosis and maintained for the rest of the patient’s life. From the research, I have learned that treating hypertension is getting blood pressure back to normal regardless of the treatment plan incorporated.
Cleveland Clinic. (2020, March 20). High blood pressure (Hypertension): Symptoms, causes & diet. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4314-hypertension-high-blood-pressure
Institute of Medicine. (2010). A population-based policy and systems change approach to prevent and control hypertension. National Academies Press.
Nguyen, Q., Dominguez, J., Nguyen, L., & Gullapalli, N. (2010). Hypertension Management: An Update. American Health Drug Benefits, 3(1), 47-56.