High Blood Pressure - The Leading Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease

According to the World Health Organization, high blood pressure is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease and one of the leading causes for premature death. By 2025, it is projected that almost two billion people will be living with this disease. Diet, family history, age, gender, race, weight and physical activity all play a role in whether or not one will develop high blood pressure. Secondary high blood pressure or hypertension can develop from other health conditions, such as kidney problems or hormonal imbalances.

What is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the rate of blood that pushes against the walls of the arteries when the heart pumps. It is measured as diastolic and systolic pressures. Diastolic refers to the blood pressure when the heart doesn’t pump between beats. Systolic refers to the blood pressure as the heart beats and pumps blood. Blood pressure numbers are written in the measurement of millimeters of mercury (mmHg). High blood pressure is considered at a diastolic rate above 90 mm Hg or a systolic blood pressure rate above 140 mm Hg.

Complications with High Blood Pressure

  • High blood pressure puts stress on the body’s blood vessels. It causes the blood vessels to become weak or clog. When the blood vessels are clogged, atherosclerosis can develop and block blood flow with build-up of fat.
  • It’s a silent killer that can lead to several types of strokes, including hemorrhagic and ischemic. The damage from high blood pressure can cause fragile spots in the artery walls and cause an aneurysms.
  • Over time, high blood pressure can cause serious health complications. It can cause the heart to become weaker or larger and lead to heart failure.
  • Aneurysms may also form in the blood vessels. Typical areas for aneurysms include the brain, legs, intestines and heart arteries. High blood pressure can also cause the blood vessels in the eyes to burst and lead to vision problems.

Treatment for High Blood Pressure

Treatment for high blood pressure often includes adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as consuming a healthy diet, engaging in physical activities, quitting smoking, managing stress in a positive manner and maintaining a healthy weight. However, there are many people who cannot achieve or maintain a healthy blood pressure alone with just lifestyle changes. Often, medications are prescribed by physicians as part of the treatment plan.

Individual blood pressure medications work in different ways to treat high blood pressure. Some reduce the heartbeat and dilate blood vessels while others remove salt and excess fluid from the body. Diuretics assist the kidneys in flushing out excess salt from the body and may be prescribed in addition to other medications like calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, alpha blockers or beta blockers.

Beta blockers cause the heart to pump at a slower rate and with less force. This causes the heart to pump less blood and results in lower blood pressure. The angiotensin II hormone is known to cause blood vessels become too narrow. With ACE inhibitors, the body cannot manufacture this hormone. Angiotensin II receptor blockers are a relatively new blood pressure medication that protects the blood vessels from the hormone and helps the blood vessels relax and dilate. Calcium channel blockers inhibit calcium from entering the heart cells and blood vessels. Like ACE inhibitors, the blood vessels relax and widen. Both alpha blockers and alpha-beta blockers reduce nerve impulses that cause blood vessels to narrow and tighten. These medications also reduce the rate of the heartbeat, resulting in lower blood pressure.

Cialis and High Blood Pressure

As reported in U.S. News, recent studies have been done on Cialis and its effect on treating pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension is caused by high blood pressure. The oxygen blood supply circulated throughout the body is reduced, and those who suffer from this condition often become short of breath, dizzy and tired. Dr. Robyn J. Barst of Columbia University and his research team tested the effects of Cialis on 405 patients with pulmonary hypertension.

The study group was divided into Cialis groups and placebo groups. After 16 weeks, patients who were administered Cialis showed improvement in walking distance and the progression of the disease was delayed. Overall, the drug was well-tolerated, improved parameters of the disease and improved the ability to exercise. Reports of this clinical study were recently presented to the American College of Chest Physicians. Researchers are hopeful that Cialis will be reviewed and approved for treatment of pulmonary hypertension.

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