Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is consistently elevated above the normal range. Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood on the walls of the arteries as it is pumped by the heart. High blood pressure can lead to several serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage. It is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Hypertension can be managed through lifestyle changes, medication, and regular monitoring by a healthcare professional.
According to a study published in the Journal of Hypertension, the prevalence of hypertension in India was estimated to be around 29.8% in 2020. This means that nearly one-third of the Indian population is affected by hypertension. The study also found that hypertension is more prevalent in urban areas than in rural areas. The prevalence of hypertension was found to be higher in men than in women and increased with age. Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and kidney disease, and its high prevalence in India highlights the need for effective prevention and management strategies.
Types of Hypertension:
Hypertension, can be classified into two main types: primary hypertension and secondary hypertension.
- Primary hypertension, also called essential hypertension, is the most common type of hypertension and accounts for about 90-95% of all cases. The exact cause of primary hypertension is not known, but it is believed to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as a diet high in salt, lack of physical activity, and obesity. Primary hypertension develops gradually over time and may not show any symptoms until it reaches a severe stage.
- Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, is caused by an underlying medical condition or medication. It accounts for about 5-10% of all hypertension cases. Secondary hypertension can be caused by conditions such as kidney disease, hormonal disorders, obstructive sleep apnoea, and pregnancy. Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), birth control pills, and antidepressants, can also cause secondary hypertension. Unlike primary hypertension, secondary hypertension develops suddenly and may cause more severe symptoms.
Causes of Hypertension:
Some of the common causes include:
- Genetics: High blood pressure can be hereditary, and if there is a family history of hypertension, an individual may have an increased risk of developing the condition.
- Lifestyle factors: An unhealthy lifestyle can increase the risk of developing hypertension. Factors such as being overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and a diet high in salt and fat can all contribute to hypertension.
- Chronic conditions: Chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, and sleep apnoea can increase the risk of developing hypertension.
- Medications: Certain medications such as birth control pills, cold medicines, and some prescription medications can increase blood pressure.
- Stress: Prolonged stress can cause hypertension, as it can cause the body to release hormones that increase blood pressure.
- Aging: As people age, their risk of developing hypertension increases. This may be due to changes in the blood vessels and the heart that occur over time.
- Other factors: Other factors that can cause hypertension include thyroid disorders, adrenal gland tumours, and certain autoimmune diseases.
Symptoms of Hypertension:
Hypertension is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it usually does not cause any symptoms until it has caused significant damage to the body. However, in some cases, hypertension can cause symptoms such as:
- Headaches: People with hypertension may experience headaches, particularly behind the eyes or at the back of the head, due to the increased pressure in the blood vessels.
- Dizziness: Hypertension can cause dizziness or light-headedness, particularly when standing up suddenly, due to the decreased blood flow to the brain.
- Shortness of breath: People with hypertension may experience shortness of breath, particularly during physical activity, due to the increased workload on the heart.
- Chest pain: Hypertension can cause chest pain or discomfort, particularly during physical activity, due to the increased demand for oxygen by the heart.
- Vision problems: Hypertension can cause vision problems, such as blurred vision or the appearance of flashing lights, due to the damage it can cause to the blood vessels in the eyes.
- Fatigue: Hypertension can cause fatigue or weakness, particularly when doing physical activity, due to the increased workload on the heart and blood vessels.
Complications of Hypertension:
Hypertension can lead to a variety of complications, including:
- Cardiovascular disease: High blood pressure can damage the walls of the arteries, making them more prone to the build-up of fatty deposits, which can increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
- Kidney damage: The high pressure in the blood vessels can damage the kidneys over time, leading to kidney failure.
- Eye damage: The blood vessels in the eyes can be damaged due to hypertension, leading to vision problems and even blindness.
- Cognitive impairment: Hypertension has been linked to cognitive decline, including memory loss and dementia.
- Aneurysm: Hypertension can cause the blood vessels to weaken and bulge, leading to an aneurysm which is a potentially life-threatening condition.
- Peripheral artery disease: Hypertension can cause narrowing of the arteries in the legs, reducing blood flow and leading to pain and numbness.
- Sexual dysfunction: Men with hypertension may experience erectile dysfunction, and women may experience decreased sexual desire and vaginal dryness.
Role of Neurotherapy:
In neurotherapy, hypertension is considered an alkaline disease, and therefore, alkaline treatment is provided to the patients. Along with that, it is also believed that if the digestive system is disturbed, it can lead to hypertension, so appropriate treatment is given to address this issue as well. Heparin treatment is administered to inhibit the production of renin, which is responsible for the narrowing of blood vessels and thus contributing to hypertension.