Blood pressure can be described as the force with which the blood pushes through the artery walls through the body. Blood in the arteries fills the arteries up to a certain extent implying that too much blood pressure can cause damages to the artery. Blood pressure is measured using two methods that are systolic pressure which refers to the pressure in the arterial system at its highest. Diastolic pressure on the other hand refers to arterial pressure at its lowest. The measure of blood pressure hence appears as two numbers where the upper number is the systolic pressure while the lower number is diastolic pressure.

What Is Hypertension?

Hypertension refers to the reading of 140/90 on three consecutive measurement at least six hours part. The definition of the term varies from one individual where in the case of pregnant mothers; it is defined as 140/90 on two consecutive measures six hours apart. Hypertension leads to the heart working harder than it should be which can lead to the damage of the coronary arteries, the brain and the kidney. Hypertension has been found to be a major cause of stroke.

Types of Hypertension

Hypertension can either be classified as primary hypertension or secondary hypertension. The origin of primary hypertension is highly associated with lifestyle. According to Gibson, this type of hypertension is responsible for up to 90% of all diagnosed hypertension and are treated using stress management techniques, proper medication, increasing physical activities and diet changes (Gibson, 2009). The cause of primary hypertension is as a result of preexisting medical conditions such as congestion of the heart and damages to the endocrine system.

Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) appears in healthy women during the 20th week of pregnancy. The occurrence of this type of hypertension commonly occurs in obese or overweight women. PIH is characterized by water retention in the body and protein in the urine. Medical practitioners have found out that 5% of all PIH cases progress to preeclampsia. This condition is characterized by loss of appetite, dizziness, visual disturbance, abdominal pains and headaches. Preeclampsia affects the blood system and the kidney as well as other organs. PIH has been found to disappear a few weeks after birth.

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Causes of Hypertension

Pre4wcription drugs and other over the counter drugs have been found to cause hypertension. An example of these is corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs which have been closely associated with increased hypertension cases in most organ transplant recipients (Anderson, Mosby's Medical, Nursing, and Allied Health Dictionary). Other drugs found to increase the occurrence of hypertension in the body are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) since some of their properties such as antiprostaglandin affect the kidney.

Other causes of hypertension include tobacco products where the nicotine contained n these products increase the blood pressure in the body. Medical researchers have not established a direct connection between caffeine and chronic hypertension. However, caffeine intake can cause acute increase in blood pressure. Hypertension is also caused by chronic use of alcohol. According to recent research, 30 to 60% of alcoholics have hypertension. 5% of all hypertension cases are also as a result of alcohol consumption.

Diet and Hypertension

Sodium intake is ranked fourth as the lifestyle factor that is closely associated with hypertension. An estimated half of the people has been found to be sodium sensitive. This can be attributed to the fact that excessive sodium consumption tends to increase blood pressure in the body. There are various ways that one can limit sodium intake in the body. One such way is by check food labels for sodium content. Another way is by choosing unprocessed food as well as limiting processed meats and cheese. Another protective strategy is by limiting consumption of salty snacks and other condiments of food that may be high in sodium.


With regards to this, Vicki being diagnosed with hypertension can be attributed to two factors. One factor is that of her age. This is because; most of the sodium sensitive individuals fall under the age bracket of 40 to 70 years of age. The other factor is as a result of Vicki taking most of her meals form fast food restaurants. This implies that at most instances, she hardly checks the food labels for sodium content. Fast foods also contain high fat content which is one of the factors that increase the blood pressure in the body.

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