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Enemy of the Heart and Brain: Hypertension


Enemy of the Heart and Brain: Hypertension

2 out of every 3 people over the age of 65 are affected by hypertension. Anadolu Health Center Internal Medicine and Cardiology experts explain what can be done against this disease, which especially threatens the heart and brain.

2 out of every 3 people over the age of 65 are affected by hypertension. Anadolu Health Center Internal Medicine and Cardiology experts explain what can be done against this disease, which especially threatens the heart and brain.

The incidence of hypertension, which affects 2 out of every 3 people over the age of 65, increases with age. According to statistics; The risk of hypertension in the next 20 years for a person who does not encounter this problem until the age of 65 reaches 90 percent. In other words, someone who lives to the age of 85 has a 90 percent chance of developing hypertension. Hypertension, which increases the risk of stroke as well as coronary heart diseases, is considered one of the biggest causes of chronic kidney disease. Two thirds of kidney patients receiving dialysis treatment in Turkey have kidney failure; It causes either diabetes, hypertension, or both. In addition, hypertension is a serious cause of heart failure and is among the most important causes of rhythm disorders in older ages.

Hypertension causes stroke

One of the most dangerous consequences of hypertension is stroke. The risk of having a stroke is 4-5 times higher in those with hypertension than in those without. While the risk of having a stroke in two years in patients with hypertension over the age of 65 is around 15-16 percent, this rate is around 3-4 percent in people in the same age group without hypertension.

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Hypertension can cause stroke in three different ways:

  • It causes small vessel disease in the brain and blocks small arteries,
  • Over time, it creates weak points and aneurysms in the brain vessels and causes bleeding as a result of their bursting,
  • It causes arteriosclerosis in the vessels going to the brain, causing clots to form on the arteriosclerosis plaques, thus either blocking the vessel or throwing the clot into the brain.

Beware of temporary obstruction due to hypertension

Vascular occlusions due to hypertension can increase the risk of stroke depending on the degree of occlusion as well as age. Sometimes there may be temporary blockages, and although symptoms of paralysis are observed, these symptoms disappear within half an hour. Just because it’s temporary doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. It is considered as serious as having a normal stroke. In some cases, the vein may be completely blocked at a point closer to the end. This type of blockage can manifest itself not only in the form of symptoms such as not holding the arm and distorted face, but also in the form of a vague stiffness and numbness in the foot. Sometimes these events may be perceived as if they are due to other reasons, that is, the person may not realize that he or she has had a stroke. In more serious blockages, complete loss of movement on the left or right side may occur. As a result, the patient may remain bedridden or even die. However, occlusive strokes due to hypertension do not usually result in death. Occlusion of large brain vessels increases the risk of stroke resulting in death. Even though it does not cause death, most patients who have a stroke cannot work afterwards and are disconnected from social life.

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Hypertension consequences

Hypertension causes the vessels in the brain to wear out. Bleeding occurs as a result of the rupture of weak points and micro aneurysms. Symptoms vary depending on the size of the bleeding. These bleedings can sometimes be large enough to result in death. However, a relationship cannot always be established between the severity of bleeding and the level of blood pressure.

Do not lower blood pressure during a stroke

The risk of stroke due to hypertension is directly related to the duration of hypertension, not its level. Sudden rising blood pressure does not cause a bleeding or occlusive stroke. Of course, the level of hypertension is important. However, it is not high blood pressure that causes a stroke, but the wear and tear of the vessel. Blood pressure should never be lowered in people who have had a stroke. Because trying to reduce blood pressure; It disrupts the blood circulation in the brain, reduces the blood volume passing through the brain, and as a result, the nutrition of the cells in the area where the vessel reaches is further disrupted and the infarction area expands. After all; A stroke, which can be overcome with movement disorders in one hand or a slight shuffling of the foot, can result in bedriddenness.

What to do during a stroke

As is widely known among the public, it is wrong to make a stroke patient swallow garlic, drink lemon juice, or pour cold water over his head. Blood pressure medication should never be given and no effort should be made to lower blood pressure. In such an emergency, the greatest favor that can be done to the patient is to immediately take him to the nearest health institution. So, isn’t there anything else we can do? Of course there is; protection from stroke. The first step is to be aware of hypertension. One in every 3 hypertension patients in Turkey does not know that they have hypertension. In Turkey, 87 percent of patients receiving hypertension medication and treatment cannot reach their target blood pressure levels. In other words, this treatment is successful only in 13 percent of all those receiving treatment.

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Ways to protect yourself from stroke

  • Care should be taken to ensure that blood pressure is below 14 to 9.
  • If you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, your blood pressure should be below 13 over 8.
  • There is a direct relationship between salt consumption and stroke, so salt consumption should be severely restricted.
  • Regular physical exercise should be done. Research shows that regular physical exercise reduces the frequency of complications in hypertension.


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