In this text, I concern myself with hypertension. In so doing, I will amongst other things discuss its causes and possible complications. Further, I will also highlight treatment and control options with a particular emphasis on lifestyle changes, exercises, etc.
Hypertension could either be secondary or essential (Toth and Cannon, 2010). Unlike secondary hypertension, essential hypertension has no clear or exact cause. For this reason, this category of hypertension is often associated with a sedentary lifestyle, stress, excessive intake of alcohol, smoking, etc. On the other hand, secondary hypertension according to Toth and Cannon (2010) results from an identifiable mechanism or cause, i.e. A specific disorder.
Underlying Diseases Which Could be Caused by Hypertension
According to the American College of Sports Medicine — ACSM (2010), underlying diseases which could be caused by hypertension include but they are not limited to chronic kidney disease, heart failure, CVD, etc. Other underlying diseases caused by the condition are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia (Waldstein, Wendell, Katzel, 2010).
According to the World Health Statistics 2012 report issued by the World Health Organization – WHO, the mean blood pressure in countries regarded high-income has been on the decline in recent times (WHO, 2012). ACSM points out that the number of Americans suffering from hypertension stands at approximately 65 million. The condition as the World Health Statistics 2012 report further points out is to blame more than half of all stroke-related deaths and approximately 45% of deaths from coronary artery disease (WHO, 2012).
Control and Treatment
To avoid complications, Individuals diagnosed with hypertension must make the necessary adjustments to their lifestyles by amongst other things modifying their diet and participating in regular physical activities (ACSM – 2010). In seeking to keep their blood pressure in check, individuals with hypertension should ensure that their diet contains lots of fiber and potassium (Dunford, 2006). The relevance of consuming low fat foods cannot also be overstated (Dunford, 2006). For this reason, individuals with hypertension should consume lean proteins while limiting their ingestion of foods containing high levels of saturated fats. Those who smoke should also consider quitting by amongst other things joining smoking cessation programs. Individuals suffering from hypertension should also maintain a healthy body weight and explore ways of reducing stress.
According to ACSM (2010), individuals with hypertension are often grouped into several categories, i.e. group A, B, and C. It is this categorization that largely influences recommendations in regard to exercise testing. Before exercise testing, persons suffering from hypertension ought to undergo medical evaluation (ACSM, 2010). As ACSM further points out, while SL-GXT is not mandatory for those in group A or B. prior to engaging in moderate or light intensity exercises/activities, it is strongly recommended that persons in group C. undergo an exercise test before undertaking similar activities/exercises.
Although aerobic exercises are emphasized, they could be supplemented by moderate-intensity resistance training (ACSM, 2010). ACSM recommends that aerobic type exercises be performed for 30-60 minutes every day of the week and resistance exercises be performed 2-3 days a week. The intensity when it comes to aerobic exercises should be moderate. Regarding the exact type of aerobic exercise to be performed, ACSM recommends that persons with hypertension engage in swimming, cycling, jogging, or even walking.
It is important to note that in some instances, the relevance of close medical supervision cannot be overstated when it comes to the incorporation of exercise training to the treatment plan. Those who should consult their physicians or engage in exercises under medical supervision include persons with documented CVD and uncontrolled BP (ACSM, 2010). Persons likely to be affected negatively by B-blockers and various antihypertensive medications should be monitored closely and given the appropriate advice (ACSM, 2010). For obese individuals, ACSM recommends that exercise prescriptions be focused on the reduction of caloric intake while at the same time increasing the expenditure of calories.
Several classes of drugs could be administered in the treatment and control of hypertension. Some of the drugs utilized in this endeavor include but they are not limited to rennin inhibitors, ace inhibitors, diuretics, etc. (Harvey and Champe, 2009). According to Harvey and Champe (2009), the reduction of both renal and cardiovascular mortality and morbidity remains the key goal of antihypertensive therapy.
In conclusion, it is important to note that the proper management of hypertension is largely dependent on not only making the necessary lifestyle and dietary adjustments but also on sticking to the appropriate exercise regime. This is more so the case given that failure to properly manage the condition could further occasion damage to an individual’s body organs and blood vessels. It would also be prudent to note that although the relevance of exercises in the control and proper management of hypertension cannot be overstated, there still exists a need to adhere to the guidelines proposed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in regard to exercise testing and prescription.
American College of Sports Medicine. (2010). ACSM’S Guidelines for Exercises Testing and Prescription (8th ed.). New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Dunford, (Ed.). (2006). Sports Nutrition: A Practice for Professionals (4th ed.). New York: American Dietetic Association.
Harvey, R.A. & Champe, P.C. (2009). Pharmacology (4th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Toth, P.P. & Cannon, C.P. (Eds.) (2010). Comprehensive Cardiovascular Medicine in the Primary Care Setting. New York: Springer.
Waldstein, S.R., Wendell, C.R. & Katzel, L.I (2010, January 1). Hypertension and Neurocognitive Function in Older Adults: Blood Pressure and Beyond. Annual Review of Gerontology & Geriatrics, 30, 115-139
World Health Organization – WHO (2012). World Health Statistics: A Snapshot of Global Health. Retrieved March 15, 2013 from: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/70889/1/WHO_IER_HSI_12.1_eng.pdf
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