Facts about Hypertension
- Hypertension commonly known as high blood pressure is a serious medical condition if left unattended increases risk for heart, brain, kidney or other diseases in the body.
- Studies estimate 1.13 billion population is suffering from hypertension worldwide.
- WHO reports from 2015 says, 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women is affected with HTN
- High blood pressure is a major reason for premature death world wide
- One of the main targets for 2025 is to reduce the prevalence rate of hypertension by 25%
What is Hypertension?
High blood pressure is a very common medical condition which is characterized with raised blood flow against artery walls that can lead to serious heart diseases.
Heart pumps the blood and there is certain amount of resistance to blood flow in arteries which determines the blood pressure. The more blood flow in heart and the narrower arteries, higher would be the blood pressure
In some people, hypertension can occur without any symptoms. Even without any symptoms, there can be damage to blood vessels. When the blood pressure is uncontrolled it can lead to stroke or heart attack.
The blood pressure is denoted with two numbers. The numerator being systolic number represents the pressure in the blood vessels when there is contraction in heart or when it beats. The denominator is diastolic number which represents the pressure that occur in the vessels between the heart beat or when the heart rests between the beats.
Normal blood pressure is measured as 120/80mmHg. Measuring the blood pressure continuously for 2 days, if the systolic reading is more than 140mmHg or if diastolic blood pressure reading is more than 90mmHg; it is considered as hypertension.
What are the different types of hypertension?
Hypertension is mainly classified into two types: Primary and Secondary HTN
Primary HTN is the most common type seen among patients. For most people, the symptoms develops when the age progresses.
Secondary HTN is caused due to any other medical condition or usage of certain medicines. It can come to control if properly taken care or stopping the medication that cause high blood pressure
What are the cause for Hypertension?
Many times the cause of high blood pressure is unknown. Many times it accompanies with other diseases. If the blood pressure is high without any other cause if fall in the category of primary HTN. If the raise in blood happen due to any other disease then it is secondary hypertension.
Primary hypertension can result from causes like:
- Blood plasma volume
- Hormonal variations
- Lack of exercise
Secondary hypertension causes may be:
- Chronic Kidney disease: In CKD the kidneys do not filter the fluids. This excess accumulation of fluids in blood causes hypertension.
Other diseases that lead to hypertension are:
- Kidney disease
- Cushing syndrome
- Sleep apnea
What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
Symptoms of hypertension can vary from person to person. Few commonly seen signs are –
- Early morning headaches
- Nose bleeding
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Blurred vision
- Severe HTN can result in Vomiting, Chest pain, Muscle tremors.
Hypertension can be detected using automated BP apparatus even at homes. If high BP is detected, it good to consult a physician to avoid the risk.
Uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to serious health problems like chest pain also known as angina. Heart attack occurs when there is complete blockage of blood supply to the heart. The cells in the heart muscle do not get enough oxygen and the activities of the heart gets afflicted.
Heart failure is a condition, when heart cannot pump enough blood and supply oxygen to other vital organs in the body. Irregular heart rhythm can lead to sudden death. Hypertension can sometimes burst the artery walls or block the blood supply which causes stroke. Cases of kidney failure is also seen in high blood pressure patients.
Ayurvedic approach to Hypertension
The coined term for high blood pressure is Raktachapa in Ayurveda. Vitiated Vata dosha is the main cause of Hrudroga as the rasa gati or vikshepa is controlled by vata itself. Other doshas, pitta and kapha supports the progress of the disease affecting the rasa and raktha dhatus.
Due to the aetiological factors, there is accumulation of the dosha and leads to its aggravation. It aggravates the rajas and tamas which leads to ojas vitiation. The tridoshas that are aggravated affects the Prana and vyana vayus, sadhaka pitta and avalambaka kapha situated in the hrudaya. It also vitiates the rasa dhatu, and also results in depletion of Agni that causes Ama in the body. The doshas take sthana samsraya in the hrudaya leading to heart diseases.
Treatment for Hypertension in Ayurveda
The role of Ayurveda is more pertinent in treating high blood pressure. Following proper diet, lifestyle, seasonal regimens is the main solution to prevent heart diseases. In general quit smoking, maintain optimum body weight, increasing physical activities can help to protect from heart disorders. Ayurveda has also mentioned supportive medicines and plants that help to improve the health of the heart.
- A balanced diet which includes use of fruits and green vegetables should be followed. Use more of Barley, Jowar, wheat, green gram, horse gram in the diet.
- Leafy vegetables like moringa, spinach can be taken regularly. Veggies like bitter gourd, bottle gourd, turnips, carrot, radish are said be good for heart.
- Consume fruits such as Indian gooseberry, lack grapes, pomegranate, apples, pineapple etc.
- Avoid excess intake of salts, oils, sour and spicy foods.
- Strict restrictions should be given to items like butter, ghee, and usage of caffeine.
Baddha konasana, Sethu bhandasana, Shavasana,Adhomukhasvanasana, janusirshasana, virasana, suptavirasana, viparita karani, uttanasana are the recommended yoga practices.
Home remedies to lower High blood pressure
- Regular intake of cinnamon in the diet can lower the increased blood pressure. It can be added to the regular tea, or in the diet that is taken
- Cardamom which is supreme among the Indian spices is said to have properties of lowering the blood pressure.
- Regularly taking flax seeds helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It reduces the serum cholesterol and is a best antioxidant
Garlic in the daily diet is a good idea to improve heart’s health. Garlic is said to improve the nitric oxide in the blood, which helps to relax and dilate the blood vessels.