Causes of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Causes of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)


>>Ellen: Vessels. Unfortunately, itís almost
a total body insult. So, the consequences are far-reaching when we have hypertension. Well, what causes it? Now, when I um- put
this figure on the side, I didnít realize until we loaded it that it rotates and that the light bulb blinks off and on
so you may not want to just concentrate on that particular figure. Um- It may, or may not make you dizzy [laugh] But the reason we chose that particular um-
figure isÖ.Iím going to talk a little bit about what is important about this. In order to find the cause of hypertension
it takes a village sometimes. It takes not only the individual, but their
physician or their medical provider and often in order to make um- a good diagnosis it takes multiple specialists working in concert
with the primary care physician and the patient. So, it takes um- a number of individuals often
to help come up with the idea thatís necessary. I added I put aging here. Um- unfortunately
aging is one of the factors that cause hypertension that we cannot control. We havenít found the fountain of youth yet
or a pill to stop the aging process ever but as we start talking about treatment, there are some things that as we get older
if we do and pay attention to we can actually decrease the chance of hypertension or help
treat it. But aging causes a stiffening, if you will,
or an inflexibility in the body. Ever try to get up from one of these conferences
after an hour or so? [laughs] you know how you feel? Well this is a part
of the aging process and it actually happens to the blood vessels and the arteries just
get stiffer as we get older. You might use the uh- the metaphor of uh-
a garden hose, a brand new garden hose from Loweís, love those things donít you? Nice and green or black and theyíre just-
I mean you can twist them right? Twist them, turn them and wrap them in knots
and they just keep on going. So you leave it outside and it rains on it
and snows on it and frosts on it and then, after about a year or so you decide to tie
it in a knot. And what happens? It, right, itís very stiff
and sometimes it will just break. Well, this is kind of like the blood vessels.
So there is this with aging. Smoking is a significant cause of hypertension
and can complicate hypertension and itís consequences on the body. Actually the nicotine serves as a compressor
if you will of arteries. It can cause arterial spasm therefore the blood canít get through
as well, therefore the pressure has to increase, remember
we talked about that early on? So it can make a big difference in what happens.
Actually just one cigarette causes a spasm that is- a spasm of the vessels for up to
several days. So itís very powerful. Nicotine is a very powerful and potent agent.
Diabetes as I had mentioned before can cause difficulties as well uh- within the blood
vessels themselves uh- many times it can cause problems with
increased deposition of materials within the arterial walls which causes the narrowing
of the vessel. The more narrow the vessel the higher the
head of pressure needed to get the blood through to the body. So diabetes has its own cardiovascular
disease risk. All its own. Thatís why we said we said earlier if someone
has diabetes then we have to Ö a lower levelÖ for problemsÖwith their heart. Obesity often is its own primary problem.
Many people can solve their problems with hypertension just by losing weight. Uh- this has uh- varied reasons for this including-
unfortunately as we increase our weight often our lipids increase. The blood fats, including our cholesterol,
the good and the bad, unfortunately more the bad. And when that happens we know that there is
more deposition of cholesterol materials and fatty materials within the lining of the arteries. So what we find is when we start losing weight,
even for every five pounds, we get a reduction in our blood pressure. If we need to lose weight, we donít have
to lose it all to get a plus with our blood pressure. Actually every five pounds makes
a difference. Drugs were brought up earlier as a possible
reason for our blood pressure to go up and itís true. Not only those drugs that we take for colds
that have decongestants can certainly drive our blood pressure up but street drugs illicit drugs cocaine, heroine, PCP, um- some
of the pain relieving medications oxycontin, codine. Many of these drugs can actually drive the
pressure up. Sleep apnea. What happens with sleep apnea
as you know is a conditionÖwhere oftenÖsleep apnea means you fall into a very deep sleep
sometimes the neck starts to relax and our tongue falls back into our throat and we snore. But what happens is weíre not getting that
flow of oxygen that we normally would and so we have periods where the brain doesnít
get the message you need to breathe and so there will be short times where maybe
for just a few seconds the individual does not breathe at night or whenever they are
asleep. If this continues over time it can put tremendous
pressure on the heart and then that can put pressure on the lungs and then we can certainly
get hypertension from that. The renal and the renovascular abnormalities
include any kind of kidney disease if a patient has a primary kidneyÖdevelop hypertensionÖit
can have the arteries leading to the kidneys begin to narrow. Then that can cause hypertension as well.
Because the kidneys are so intimately involved with secreting chemicals that keep our blood
pressure either higher or lower and regulate our blood pressure in general. Endocrine abnormalities include any of the
hormone problems, thyroid disease particularly hyperthyroidism, when the thyroid is too high,
can lead to hypertension. Can also have problems with our adrenal glands,
too much cortisone secreted or cortisol by our bodies secreted can cause hypertension. And physical abnormalities have to be considered.
There are certain abnormalities that are congential, that is they have occurred before birth and
actually may not have been recognized. Maybe mild enough not to be recognized early
on but can lead to hypertension. White coats, very important cause of inaccurately
diagnosed hypertension. When- I donít know how many of your primary
care providers wear a white coat anymore. I never used to do it in the office, but the
whole idea is, whether they have a white coat on or not, you know you are going to the doctor. You know that theyíre going to weigh you,
Ow!, [laugh] for me particularly, and then theyíre going
to take your blood pressure, maybe another ìow!î so what happens is we already start
to build up our concern about these things andÖ

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