IS HYPERTENSION A THREAT?- AN OVERVIEW

Hypertension is a major risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases including stroke, coronary heart disease. Therefore prevention of hypertension becomes an important goal in overall efforts to control blood pressure and reduce the incidence of hypertension-related cardiovascular and renal complications and outcomes.

  1. Many risk factors underlying: Hypertension has been identified including non-modifiable factors such as age, gender, genetic factors, and race as well as modifiable factors including overweight, high sodium intake, low potassium intake, alcohol consumption and reduced physical activity.
  2. A number of risk factors underlying: Hypertension including age, gender, family history of hypertension. African-American ancestry overweight, diabetes mellitus, excess consumption of sodium, physical inactivity, smoking and excess of coffee and alcohol consumption.
  3. These risk factors can be divided into two groups.
    • Factors that are not modified such as age, gender, ethnicity and genetic factors,
    • And other factors can be modified and in this way may decrease or even prevent hypertension.

Non-modifiable Factors:

  • Ageing
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender

 Ethnicity also plays an important role in the pathogenesis of hypertension and the prevalence of hypertension is higher in African-Americans than in other ethnic groups.Hypertension is slightly higher in men compared with women.

 Modifiable (Environmental) Factors:

  1. Body Mass: Weight Reduction plays one of the important roles in the prevention of hypertension. 
  2. Dietary Sodium Reduction: Reducing Sodium Intake in the daily diet. (Normal: 1.15 – 2.3 gm/day.)
  3.  Alcohol Consumption: The risk of developing hypertension was found to be higher in all subjects when alcohol consumption was greater than 210g per week. Intake of less quantity of Ethanol was the risk factor for hypertension only in Black men.
  4.  Potassium Supplements: Oral potassium intake should also be recommended for the prevention of hypertension
  5. Calcium and Magnesium Supplements: The relation between calcium intake and blood pressure has been strongly established.

Other Dietary Modifications:

  • Coffee drinking has been suspected as a risk factor for hypertension.
  • Fish oil supplementation has also been proposed to prevent hypertension.
  • The effect of a diet with low-fat dairy foods having reduced saturated and total fats has also been tested. These are DASH diet recommendation.
  • Physical activity and stress management
  • Avoid smoking.

Conclusion:

Dietary modifications include weight loss, low sodium diet, supplementation in potassium, alcohol moderation and increased physical activity. Dietary fibre supplementation and coffee cessation may also be useful but additional evidence is still needed to establish their efficacy in the prevention of hypertension.