Guide on Hypertension Health Problem

Hypertension or high blood pressure is the most common health problem in the U.S. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and American Heart Association, one in three adults suffers from this health problem.  As this disease is known as a silent disease most of the people don’t even know they have high blood pressure.

What is hypertension?

In simple terms, hypertension means a person is suffering from high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force applied by blood to push against blood vessel walls. The heart pumps blood into the arteries which carry the blood throughout the body. When the pressure is high, the heart works harder to pump blood to the body. This leads to the hardening of the arteries and to the development of heart failure.

Before trying to understand high blood pressure, it is essential to have some knowledge about normal blood pressure range. Normally, blood pressure readings fall under the following ranges:

  • Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
  • Pre-hypertension: 120-139 over 80-89
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above

People whose blood pressure is above the normal range suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure.

Some 70 million adults the United States are affected by hypertension. The condition also affects about two million teens and children. According to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in September 2012, over half all Americans with hypertension do not have their high blood pressure under control.
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What are the different types of hypertension?

There are mainly two types of hypertension:

Primary (essential) hypertension

Around 90–95% of all cases of hypertension are related to primary hypertension or essential hypertension where the symptoms tend to develop gradually over many years. In many cases, there is no identifiable cause behind this health problem. One can suffer from primary hypertension due to several environmental factors, lifestyle factors and excessive stress. Some recent studies have also indicated with low birth weight, maternal smoking and lack of breast feeding can also cause essential hypertension in later years.

Secondary hypertension

Many people suffer from high blood pressure sue to some underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure is known as secondary hypertension. Various conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension are kidney problems; adrenal gland tumors; certain defects in blood vessels at the time of birth; certain medications like birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants and over-the-counter pain relievers; and illegal drugs like cocaine and amphetamines.

Although the problem of hypertension is most common in adults, children may also suffer from it. For some children, high blood pressure is caused by problems with the kidneys or heart.

What are the causes of Hypertension?

The exact causes of hypertension are not known, but there are several factors and conditions that can cause this health problem. Some of the common factors and conditions of hypertension are:

  • Obesity
  • Too much stress
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Consumption of excessive salt
  • Have a family history of high blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Disorders of the adrenal gland
  • Pregnancy
  • Medications such as birth control pills, diet pills, some cold medications, and migraine medications
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Genetics
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders or tumors
  • Insufficient calcium, potassium, and magnesium consumption
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Use of cocaine

At the same time certain statistics indicate that African Americans have a higher tendency of suffering from hypertension as compared to other ethnicities.

There are many factors that can affect blood pressure, like the amount of water and salt present in the body; the health condition of the kidneys, nervous system and blood vessels’ and the body hormonal levels. High blood pressure or hypertension happens when the blood vessels become stiffer. It is very essential to control hypertension on time as it can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, and early death.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

One of the most dangerous things about hypertension is that people are not aware of the fact that they have it. This is because, in most of the cases of hypertension, there are no symptoms even though the blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is through regular checkups. This is especially important if you have a family history.

However, in extreme cases, a person can have the following symptoms such as:

  • Severe headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Nosebleeds
  • Regular chest pain
  • Having difficulty in breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood in the urine

If you have any of the above mentioned symptoms, you need to immediately see a doctor. Remember that is hypertension is not treated on time it can lead to heart attack, kidney failure, eye problem or stroke.

How to diagnose hypertension?

You need to check your blood pressure level several times before coming to the conclusion that you suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure.

You can check your blood pressure level at home or at a doctor’s clinic. Blood pressure is measured with sphygmomanometer. This is special kind of device with which blood pressure can be measured in two ways: systolic and diastolic.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). A person have a normal blood pressure when the reading is less than 120/80 mm Hg. Hypertension is when the reading is greater than 140/90, while pre-hypertension is when the blood pressure reading is 120 to 139/80 to 89.

Blood pressure may increase or decrease, depending on your age, heart condition, emotions, activity, and the medications you take. This is why it is necessary to measure your blood pressure at different times, while you are resting comfortably for at least five minutes. To make the diagnosis of hypertension, at least three readings are required.

Once diagnosed with hypertension, a doctor will perform a physical exam to look for signs of heart disease, damage to the eyes, and other changes in your body. Some of the common tests recommend by a doctor are:

  • Blood tests including measurement of electrolytes and blood urea
  • Lipid profile tests to check levels of various kinds of cholesterol
  • Special tests for hormones of the adrenal gland or thyroid gland
  • Urine tests for electrolytes and hormones
  • An eye examination with an ophthalmoscope to check for ocular damage
  • Ultrasound of the kidneys or CT scan of the abdomen to check the enlargement of the kidneys and adrenal glands
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) to measure the electrical activity along with rate and rhythm of heartbeat
  • Echocardiogram to study the pumping action of the heart and the wall thickness of the heart
  • A plain chest x-ray to estimate the size of the heart

What are the treatments options for hypertension?

Today there are different treatment options available for controlling hypertension. The goal of the treatments is to reduce blood pressure in order the lower down the complications.

Lifestyle Changes:

Slight changes in the lifestyle can help to bring the high blood pressure level down to a normal range. Some of the changes that you need to incorporate in your day to day life are:

  • Eat a healthy diet, especially foods that are rich in potassium and fiber. Along with foods you also need to drink plenty of water.
  • Regular exercise is highly recommended. To control high blood pressure level one must aerobic exercises daily for at least half an hour.
  • It is essential to quit smoking totally.
  • It is better to totally avoid or limit alcohol consumption.
  • Eat less salt. Make it an aim to consume less than 1,500 mg of salt per day.
  • Avoid things that can cause stress. To control stress try some meditation or yoga.
  • Try to maintain a healthy body weight.


There are many different medicines that can be used to treat high blood pressure.

Diuretics: Also known as water pills, these medicines help the kidneys to eliminate sodium and water from your body. As a result, the blood vessels start functioning properly and help in reducing the blood pressure level.

Beta blockers: These medicines help the heart to beat at a slower rate and by opening the blood vessels. It also reduces the nerve impulses to blood vessels.
Alpha blockers: These medicines help relax your blood vessels thus helping to lower down the blood pressure.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors:  These medicines help relax the blood vessels by blocking the formation of a natural chemical that narrows blood vessels.

Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs): These medicines help relax blood vessels by blocking the action of a natural chemical that narrows blood vessels.

Calcium channel blockers: These medicines relax the muscles of the blood vessels by stopping calcium from entering cells.

Centrally acting drugs: These medicines help in giving signals to the brain and nervous system to relax your blood vessels and reduce the heart rate.

Vasodilators: These medicines offer signal to the muscles in the walls of blood vessels to relax, thus preventing the muscles from tightening.

Renin inhibitors: These medicines relax the blood vessels by reducing the production of renin, an enzyme produced by the kidneys that can increase blood pressure.

Often, a single blood pressure drug may not be enough to control your blood pressure, and you may need to take two or more drugs. It is very important that you take the medications as prescribed to you by your doctor.

Side Effects of Blood Pressure Medicines

Most of the blood pressure medicines have side effects. Some common side effects are:

  • Cough
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Erection problems
  • Feeling nervous
  • Feeling tired, weak, drowsy, or a lack of energy
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Weight loss or gain without trying

In case you are prescribed with high blood pressure medicines and you are having any of the above mentioned side effects, then you need to immediately inform about it to your doctor.  A slight change in dose of the medicine or time of day you take it can reduce the side effects. At the same time never make the mistake of changing the dose or stop taking your medicines on your own. Always consult your doctor first.

Natural Remedies for Hypertension:

Along with lifestyle changes and medicines, there is another way to control high blood pressure level. There are many natural ingredients available in your kitchen or garden that can be used in the treatment of hypertension.

For instance to relax blood vessels, nothing can be better than garlic. Use garlic in raw or cooked form to reduce your high blood pressure level. At the same time, try to eat three to four of nuts, seeds and dry beans per week.

Foods enriched with omega-3 fatty acids can also be of great help. Cold water fish like salmon and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. In case you do not like fish, then you can always take fish oil supplements.

Eat celery and parsley as the antioxidant vitamin present in them can lower the blood pressure level. At the same time, People suffering from hypertension must make it a habit to consume one to two teaspoon of honey on empty stomach daily. Honey has a calming effect on the blood vessels and hence it can be helpful in reducing high blood pressure.

Herbs such as Licorice, Ephedra, Asian Ginseng and Rosemary essential oil must be avoided as it can cause high blood pressure.

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What are the complications associated with hypertension?

When blood pressure is not well controlled, you are at risk for:

  • Bleeding from the aorta, the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Heart attack and heart failure
  • Poor blood supply to the legs
  • Stroke
  • Problems with your vision
  • Trouble with memory or understanding

When to see a doctor?

Those having high blood pressure must go for regular check-ups with their doctor. At times it is essential to change the medicine or its dose. So, whenever you have breathing problem or you are feeling uneasy you need to visit your doctor immediately.

How hypertension can be prevented?

The good news is that high blood pressure is a preventable disease and you have the power to take control of your health. Anyone can suffer from hypertension, but with certain preventive measures, one can avoid it. Some of the preventive measures are:

  • Adults over 18 should have their blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Adopt DASH eating plan.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption.
  • Lifestyle changes may help control your blood pressure.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice to modify, treat, or control possible causes of high blood pressure.


Hypertension or high blood pressure can be prevented or reversed by following a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, and by regular health check-ups. The increasing rate of hypertension can also be controlled by increasing awareness amongst people and when people have enough knowledge about the disease then they will automatically take preventive measures.

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Guide on Arthritis Health Problem

Arthritis causes pain and stiffness in the body due to swelling in the joints. Often patients of arthritis have difficulty in moving around.

What is arthritis?

It is a collective term used to describe more than 100 different types of connective tissue diseases that causes pain, stiffness and inflammation of one or more the joints. A joint is the area where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee.

What are the main causes of arthritis?

As there are many different types of arthritis, the causes of some types are still unknown. How there are many known causes that can lead to arthritis. For instance, it can cause due to:

  • Some kind of autoimmune disease
  • Broken bone or some kind of infection on the joints can also cause arthristis
  • When there is ‘wear and tear’ on joints
  • Infection, usually caused by some kind of bacteria or virus
  • Age can also cause arthritis, especially osteoarthritis
  • Females are more prone to suffer from arthritis as compared to men
  • Obesity also increase the chance of having arthritis, especially osteoarthritis
  • Repetitive movements or heavy lifting can also lead to arthritis
  • People born with heredity defects such as bow legs, a hip dislocation or laxity can also lead to arthritis
  • Lack of physical activity can weaken the muscles that can cause arthritis

At the same time, research works is going on across the globe to examine the role of genetics (heredity) in the development of arthritis. Scientists have discovered an abnormality in a gene that may cause arthritis but studies are in progress to come to a solid conclusion.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

Arthritis causes joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement. This video says that some of the common symptoms of arthritis are:

  • Sharp joint pain
  • Painful joint swelling
  • Tenderness around the joints
  • Reduced ability to move the joint
  • Redness of the skin around a joint
  • Stiffness in the fingers, arms, legs, and wrists
  • Stiffness in the joints especially in the morning
  • Warmth around a joint
  • Frequently suffering from intermittent fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blotchy rash on the arms and legs
  • Malnutrition signs
  • Fatigue

Consult a doctor immediately if you are having any of these symptoms. If not treated on time, arthritis can cause problems in your organs, such as your eyes or skin.

What are the major types of arthritis?

Arthritis may occur in men or women and can be classified as chronic or acute. Acute attacks tend to occur for short duration, whereas a chronic condition can be consistent and last long durations. Some of the most common types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Juvenile Arthritis and Gout.


Also known as ‘wear and tear’ arthritis or ‘degenerative joint disease’, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Here pain and swelling happen in the joints due to progressive loss of cartilage in the joints. Common risk factors for osteoarthritis are age, obesity, muscle injury, genetics, muscle weakness and so on. The most common signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint soreness, stiffness after periods of rest, stiffness in the joints during morning, sharp pain, and difficulty in movement and so on.

Osteoarthritis is commonly found in the knees, hips, spine, hands and fingers. However, at times wrists, elbows, shoulders, and ankles can also be affected by this type of arthritis. Some 27 million adults in the U.S., particularly older adults are affected from this type of arthritis.

For more info on Osteoarthritis, click here.

Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis is described as an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues by mistake. The main causes behind rheumatoid arthritis are still not known but experts believe that it can be caused due to hormonal changes in the body, some kind of infection and so on.

This type of arthritis usually affects the wrists, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles. The disease often begins slowly, but gradually the condition becomes worse. This type of arthritis can occur amongst people between ages 30 and 50, and also it is more common in females as compared to males. It has affected about 1.3 million people in the U.S.

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Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is a common type of arthritis in children. It is a long-term (chronic) disease resulting in joint pain and swelling. Till now exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known, though experts believe that it is an autoimmune disorder. It is not contagious and cannot be spread from one person to another but it can be due to a genetic or inherited factor.

Some of the symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis are stiffness in the joints, pain in the joints, less mobility, redness around the joints, frequent fever, rashes in the affected body parts, pale skin, swollen lymph nodes, redness in the eyes, pain in the eyes, vision problem and so on. About one in 1,000 children suffer from arthritis in the U.S. In many cases, the symptoms stop in late childhood, but about one-third of children affected from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis suffer from the symptoms in future also.

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Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes sudden burning pain, swelling and stiffness in a joint, usually the big toe. The main reason behind gout is the presence of too much of uric acid in the blood that leads to the formation of hard crystals in the joints. Some common symptoms of gout are swelling, tenderness, redness, and sharp pain in the big toe. At times gout attacks can also happen in the foot, ankle, knees, hands, wrists, elbows and sometimes soft tissue and tendons.

Those who are overweight, drink too much alcohol, or eat food that is high in chemicals called purines are more prone to suffering from this kind of problem. It usually affects only one joint at a time, but it can become chronic and at times can affect several joints. A gout attack can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks. Around 6.1 million Americans have experienced at least one gout attack. Gout is most common in males as compared to females.

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Other popular types of arthritis include:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Gonococcal arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis (Reiter syndrome)
  • Scleroderma
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS)
  • Giant Cell Arthritis (GCA)
  • Fibromyalgia (FMS)
  • Bone Spurs

Who can suffer from arthritis?

Men and women, including children and adults can suffer from arthritis. Approximately 350 million people worldwide suffer from this health problem. Rheumatoid arthritis affects 2 percent of the world population. In the U.S, around 40 million people in the United States are affected by arthritis, including over 250,000 children! Here more than 27 million Americans have osteoarthritis. Approximately 1.3 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

More than half of those with arthritis are under 65 years of age. Nearly 60% of Americans with arthritis are women.

How can arthritis be diagnosed?

To get arthritis diagnosed, you need to visit a doctor. A doctor will perform some tests and physical examinations. At the same time a doctor will ask questions related to your medical history. During the physical examinations, the doctor will look for signs of swelling and a reduced range of joint movement. In case the doctor gets some indication then he may refer to some further tests. Generally two types of test are done – joint x-rays and blood tests. With joint x-rays, the damage on the joints can be revealed. With blood tests, doctors can measure the levels of different blood cells and chemicals. At times urine and joint fluid tests are also done.

Several visits may be necessary before the doctor can be certain of the diagnosis and at the same time the type of arthritis a person may be suffering from.

What are the treatment options for arthritis?

Once the diagnosis is done, the doctor will start the treatment. Unfortunately arthritic diseases can never be cured but managed through exercise and rest, medications, physical therapy, home remedies and surgery. The main goal of all the different types of treatment is to improve the functionalities of the affected body part and to prevent further damage.

Lifestyle Changes

Certain changes in the lifestyle can play a big role in the treatment of arthritis. For instance, regular exercise and a good diet is a must for those suffering from arthritis.

Exercise: Regualr exercise can help in minimizing the various symptoms associated with arthritis. Some of the exercise programs suitable for arthritis patients are:

  • Aerobic exercise
  • motion exercise
  • Strength training exercise

Diet: A healthy diet is essential for maintaining a healthy body. For those suffering from arthritis, must follow a diet full of fruits and vegetables so that their body gets adequate amount of essential vitamins and minerals. Also try to include foods in your diet that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Foods that are high in purines, especially red meats and shellfish, must be avoided.

Other changes:

  • Get plenty of sleep as your body needs rest to recover fast.
  • Avoid staying in the same position for longer time.
  • Do not indulge in movements that causes stress on the affected joints.
  • Make changes in your home to make day to day activities easier for yourself.
  • Try meditation or yoga.
  • Those who are over weight must try to lose weight.

Physical Therapies

Different types of physical therapy may also be recommended by doctors for the treatment of arthritis. This might include:

  • Heat or ice
  • Splints or orthotics to support joints and help improve their position; this is often needed for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Water therapy
  • Massage
  • Paraffin wax dips


Doctors also offer different types of medications for the treatment of different types of arthritis. As the medications can have side effects, it is important that you do not take it without the consultation of a doctor.

Over the counter medications:

To control arthritis symptoms there are some popular over-the-counter (OTC) medication that can be purchased without a prescription. But it is recommended to consult a doctor first before taking the medications. These medications include pain-relieving creams, rubs, and sprays that can be applied directly to the skin over the joints to relieve pain. Some of the OTC medications for arthritis are:

  • Acetaminophen: This medicine is used to relieve pain but it cannot reduce inflammation. While acetaminophen is generally known as an over-the-counter medication, you can buy higher doses through a prescription only. While taking acetaminophen one must not drink alcohol at all.
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): These medications can treat both arthritis pain and inflammation. Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen are popular kind of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). As these medications can have side effects, you must first consult a doctor before taking one.

Prescribed medicines:

Prescribed medications are an available treatment option to control various arthritis symptoms. Some of the popular prescribed medicines are:

  • Biologics such as Etanercept, infliximab, adalimumab, abatacept, rituximab, golimumab, certolizumab, and tocilizumab are used in the treatment of arthritis.
  • Corticosteroids help in reducing the inflammation. They may be injected into the affected joints or can be taken orally. These anti-inflammatory treatments are limited to 2 to 4 treatments in a year. These can also be taken orally for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs such as methotrexate, gold salts, penicillamine, sulfasalazine, and hydroxychloroquine are also used in the treatment of arthritis.
  • Immunosuppressants ike azathioprine or cyclophosphamide are also used to treat patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Hyaluronic Acid Substitutes are given in a series of 3 to 5 injections and is designed to replace the component of the joint involved in the joint’s lubrication and nutrition.

Medications must be taken as directed by your doctor. Also remember that everyone responds differently to medications. So, if you are having difficulty after taking the medicines, you need to inform your doctor.

Surgery and other treatments

Surgery is the last option to treat arthritis which may include:

  • Arthroplasty to rebuild the joint
  • Joint replacement

In the past fifty years, experts have found more advanced ways to treat arthritis. These new treatments can correct deformities associated with arthritis, restore body movement and reduce pain. Today progress is so fast in some areas of arthritis treatment that it can offer better results within a few days.

Natural Remedies for Arthritis

It is true that there is no permanent cure for arthritis, but most of its symptoms can be controlled. Apart from the medications and the lifestyle guideline provided by the doctor, you can also try some easy and simple home remedies.

Simply including cherries in your diet can help you to control the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. A very good source of magnesium and potassium cherries can really help a lot. While magnesium is a natural painkiller, potassium helps in reducing inflammation.

There are many garden herbs that can give you relief from the pain and help to reduce inflammation. One such herb is cayenne pepper that can be consumer by making a cream out of it. Other herbs used in the treatment of arthritis include mint, wild yam, and yarrow. You can also use rosemary oil or thyme oil to massage the infected area gently.

Foods such as apples, parsley, and hot peppers help decrease inflammation due to the presence of anti-inflammatory properties present in them.

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Early diagnosis and treatment can help in controling the symptoms of arthritis. If anyone in your family suffers from arthritis, consult a doctor at the slight pain in the joints. Learning about arthritis can help in managing the symptoms.

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