Hypertension is the most important modifiable risk factor for coronary heart disease (the leading cause of death in North America), stroke (the third leading cause), congestive heart failure, end-stage renal disease, and peripheral vascular disease. Therefore, health care professionals must not only identify and treat patients with hypertension but also promote a healthy lifestyle and preventive strategies to decrease the prevalence of hypertension in the general population. (See Treatment.)
Lifestyle changes and medications can lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of health complications. Lifestyle changes include weight loss, physical exercise, decreased salt intake, reducing alcohol intake, and a healthy diet. If lifestyle changes are not sufficient then blood pressure medications are used. Up to three medications can control blood pressure in 90% of people. The treatment of moderately high arterial blood pressure (defined as >160/100 mmHg) with medications is associated with an improved life expectancy. The effect of treatment of blood pressure between 130/80 mmHg and 160/100 mmHg is less clear, with some reviews finding benefit and others finding unclear benefit. High blood pressure affects between 16 and 37% of the population globally. In 2010 hypertension was believed to have been a factor in 18% of all deaths (9.4 million globally).
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But, the metabolism compensates. This person starts feeling hungry all the time. Their energy begins to suffer, and they feel cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. This makes it harder for them to comply. But worse than that, depending on their individual response to the law of metabolic compensation, their metabolism has now put on the brakes, slowing their daily calorie burn rate by between 200 and 800 calories per day.
Your doctor may also use a device called an ophthalmoscope to look at the blood vessels in your eyes. Doctors can see if these vessels have thickened, narrowed, or burst, which may be a sign of high blood pressure. Your doctor will also use a stethoscope to listen to your heart and the sound of blood flowing through your arteries. In some cases, a chest x-ray and electrocardiogram may be needed.
The content of this website is intended for informational purposes only. The information presented represents the opinion of Sarah Wilson and guest editors. It does not replace professional medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat. Before starting any new dietary, exercise or other lifestyle regimen it is advisable to consult your primary medical provider.
The primary goal of clinical management is to reduce cardiovascular risk factors and prevent type 2 diabetes. The major risk factors for cardiac disease include cigarette smoking, blood lipid abnormalities, elevated blood pressure and glucose, all of which should be reduced to recommended levels. Aggressive lifestyle changes, and in some cases medication, can improve most if not all components of metabolic syndrome.
Cycle the diet in a way that has periods of reduced energy intake and periods of increased energy intake. This helps offset the leptin decline that occurs with dieting. There is individual variation with this, but for those who respond well, a day or a few days of overeating can set the metabolic rate back to a higher level. This cycling approach may be more effective for fat loss than the traditional approach
Hypertension is rarely accompanied by symptoms, and its identification is usually through screening, or when seeking healthcare for an unrelated problem. Some people with high blood pressure report headaches (particularly at the back of the head and in the morning), as well as lightheadedness, vertigo, tinnitus (buzzing or hissing in the ears), altered vision or fainting episodes. These symptoms, however, might be related to associated anxiety rather than the high blood pressure itself.