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Vicki
was diagnosed with Hypertension a month ago. Hypertension, also known as high
as blood pressure, is a condition where the long-term force of the blood
against your artery walls is high enough that it can ultimately cause health
problems, like heart disease. Blood pressure is measured by the amount of blood
your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries.
When the heart beats, it pushes blood through the arteries to the rest of the
body. When the blood pushes harder against the walls of your arteries, the
blood pressure goes up. . Hypertension is not sudden, it progresses over many
years without symptoms, but it can be easily identified.

Very
few people actually show symptoms of hypertension. These symptoms can include
headaches, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds. None of these symptoms are
specific to just hypertension, and they do not show themselves until the
hypertension reaches severe levels.

There
are two types of hypertension, primary and secondary. Primary hypertension
usually progresses slowly over many years with no detectible cause. Secondary
hypertension is caused by some sort of underlying condition. This usually
appears suddenly and can cause higher blood pressure than primary hypertension.

Hypertension
has many risk factors, some of which include age, race, family history,
obesity, limited physical activity, tobacco and alcohol abuse, excess sodium,
too little potassium or vitamin D, stress, and certain chronic conditions. The
risk of hypertension increases with age, especially in males over 45 or females
over 65. Hypertension is much more common in blacks, and matures at an earlier
age than it does in whites.

In
this case study Vicki is a 42 year old African American woman who travels
frequently for work and often has to eat fast food for most of her meals. Vicki
has many risk factors of hypertension. Being older and African American increase
her risk of hypertension. The stress of running her own business, along with
all the traveling is also a factor. She also has to eat out a lot because of
her job, increasing her sodium intake. All of these factors contributed to her
diagnosis of hypertension.

When
left untreated and uncontrolled, hypertension can lead to heart attack or
stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, weakened and narrowed blood vessels, metabolic
syndrome, and trouble with memory. Hypertension can lead to hardening and
thickening of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, which can lead to a heart
attack or stroke. Thickening of the blood vessels in the eyes can cause retinal
loss. Increased blood pressure can lead to your blood vessels weakening and
bulging, which can cause an aneurysm.

The
most common way to diagnose hypertension is by measuring a person’s blood
pressure. These measurements have four categories: normal blood pressure,
elevated blood pressure, stage 1 hypertension, and stage 2 hypertension. Blood
pressure is considered normal if it is below 120/80mm Hg. It is elevated if the
systolic pressure ranges from 120 to 129 mm Hg and the diastolic pressure is
below 80 mm Hg. It is stage 1 hypertension if the systolic pressure ranges from
130 to 139 mm Hg or the diastolic ranges from 80 to 89 mm Hg. It is stage II
hypertension when the systolic pressure is 140 mm Hg or higher or the diastolic
is 90 mm Hg or higher.

Making
lifestyle changes is the best way to reverse and reduce hypertension.
Incorporating exercise, eating a low fat and low salt diet, quitting smoking
and drinking, and reducing stress are all great ways to treat hypertension. In
addition to lifestyle changes medications, such as angiotensin-convert enzyme
(ACE) inhibitors or diuretics can also be prescribed.

High
blood pressure is the most common chronic illness, with only an estimated 34%
of adults having their blood pressure under control. It is estimated about two
thirds of Americans with hypertension are at an increased risk of cardiovascular
diseases. Due to insufficiencies in the diagnosis and control of hypertension,
it is becoming difficult to manage and maintain. A lot of the success in
lowering and eliminating hypertension relies heavily on the willingness of the
patient to change their lifestyle. The ability to lower blood pressure with
medications is limited, the patient must be willing to make the lifestyle
change.

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