Systemic Hypertension is high blood pressure in the systemic arteries - the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the body's tissues. High systemic (or body) blood pressure is usually caused by the constriction of the small arteries (arterioles). This increases the peripheral resistance to blood flow, which increases the heart's workload and raises arterial pressure. Initial signs of systemic hypertension can include a persistent, dull headache, confusion and episodic dizziness. When other system functions become affected, additional symptoms may include pronounced fatigue, impaired vision and malaise. If symptoms are ignored, one’s chances for complications increase significantly, including stroke, blindness and heart failure.
HOW IS SYSTEMIC HYPERTENSION DIAGNOSED?
Hypertension is diagnosed on the basis of a persistently high blood pressure. Initial assessment of the hypertensive people should include a complete history and physical examination. Healthcare providers should attempt to identify the underlying cause based on risk factors and other symptoms, if present. Secondary hypertension is more common in preadolescent children, with most cases caused by kidney disease. Primary or essential hypertension is more common in adolescents and has multiple risk factors, including obesity and a family history of hypertension. Serum creatinine is measured to assess for the presence of kidney disease, which can be either the cause or the result of hypertension. Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) testing is done to check for evidence that the heart is under strain from high blood pressure.
HOW IS SYSTEMIC HYPERTENSION TREATED?
The goal of treatment is to reduce blood pressure to lower the risk of complications. The doctor will advise some ways that include:
• Eat a heart-healthy diet, including potassium and fiber.
• Drink plenty of water.
• Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day.
• If you smoke, quit.
• Limit how much alcohol you drink to 1 drink a day for women, and 2 a day for men.
• Limit the amount of sodium (salt) you eat -- aim for less than 1,500 mg per day.
• Reduce stress. Try to avoid things that cause you stress, and try meditation or yoga to de-stress.
• Stay at a healthy body weight.
DID YOU KNOW?
Primary Systemic Hypertension cannot be cured but it can be controlled with medication and lifestyle changes.