Hypertension, the silent disease

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They say that the three presidents of the three nations that formed the axis against Hitler’s Germany during World War II suffered and died of high blood pressure. Both Winston Churchill and Roosevelt or the Russian leader Stalin, died of diseases derived from this disorder, probably accentuated by the tension of the historical moment, lack of knowledge and lack of proper treatment. What the Nazi army could not do, and illness did.

How it manifests

Hypertension is one of the conditions known as silent diseases. This is because it produces very few or no symptoms while developing its clinical course. Except for some occasional headache, feeling of palpitations, fatigue, etc., it usually goes unnoticed while undermining some vital organs such as the brain, heart or kidney. Many times a myocardial infarction or a stroke can be the first manifestations of this disease.

Our circulatory system is like a system of pipes formed by arteries and the liquid that circulates through it is blood.  This must be adequate because if it is more than due, for a prolonged period of time, it can damage them.

The diagnosis is not easy

Blood pressure, as everyone knows, is made up of two figures: the first is systolic tension, popularly known as ‘the maxim’, which occurs when the heart expels blood; The second figure is diastolic tension, known as ‘the minimum’ that occurs when the heart collects blood. Hypertension is defined when the systolic tension is greater than 140 mmhg and the diastolic tension is greater than 90 mmhg.

Many times making the diagnosis is not easy. The ‘white coat syndrome’ can occur, which is that the measurements are higher in the presence of the doctor because the patients get nervous. Sometimes, it is necessary to monitor blood pressure for a whole period to make a proper diagnosis or measure it at different times of the day.

Hypertension affects more than 14 million people in our country, especially the elderly. It is not exclusive of these since it is mostly linked to obesity and overweight or caused by bad habits such as a sedentary lifestyle or poor diet.

Hypertension is mainly caused by aging, which causes a decrease in the elasticity of the arteries and is a genetic factor that is difficult to modify. However, leading a healthy life with adequate food, keeping our body weight within a range, avoiding factors such as excess salt or excessive coffee or tea intake, can help keep the figures within normal limits and healthy. In most cases, our doctor will prescribe an antihypertensive treatment, along with the previous measures.

Safety measures

If you go to your primary care physician, the tension will almost certainly take you, as it is part of the screening protocol for all patients and is usually the main method by which hypertension is diagnosed.

Many times during treatment our doctor will ask us to measure our blood pressure at home. We can do this by means of a device called a sphygmomanometer. There are electronics, which are the easiest to use and the most sold today, and there are manuals, which require a more complex learning process to use them. Either one is valid if it is approved and can be used.

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