Hypertension 10 – Summary


Hi folks! It’s Dr. Louella and we’ve reached the grand finale of our discussions on hypertension. Yeeaaah!!!!


This one you should definitely keep for your records because I’ll be reiterating and reminding you of all the important points, having already explained the mechanics of this disorder in detail.

Firstly blood pressure is derived from the pumping action of the heart as it forces blood into large blood vessels. This causes the blood to circulate around our bodies. The force with which  the blood flows is called the blood pressure.

Just as we are unable to feel the blood circulating around our bodies, we are unable to feel our blood pressure. It is a common myth in Trinidad and Tobago that high blood pressure causes neck pain.

95% of high blood pressure cases are caused by the kidneys by an unknown mechanism. The other 5% have an identifiable cause, usually in younger individuals.

Certain emotional states, such as anger, pain and anxiety, as well as increased physical activity, can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure. This is not hypertension, which is a chronic condition. For this reason, not just one, but a few blood pressure readings need to be taken before a person is diagnosed as hypertensive.

Factors which predispose to the disease include a family history of hypertension, increasing age and certain ethnicities such as Afro-American or Afro-Caribbean.

Dietary associations of hypertension include a high sodium intake (salt, not fresh seasonings), low potassium intake, heavy consumption of alcohol and obesity. Increased oats and fruits in the diet help to reduce blood pressure. Physical inactivity is also associated with a higher blood pressure.

General guidelines for hypertension are that a reading of 120/80 or less is normal and ideal; a target of less than 140/90 is used for those on treatment; less than 150/90 is now used for those over 60 and 130/80 or less for those with certain diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Complications of hypertension are the dreaded stroke, heart failure, heart attack, kidney failure, aortic aneurysm and eye disease. Hypertension damages the inner lining of blood vessels allowing cholesterol to enter the wall and form a plaque that partially blocks blood flow.

If it a blood clot forms at the site it seals up the blockage long enough for no blood to flow and permanently damage brain or heart cells. The person then gets a stroke or heart attack.


The DASH diet has been shown to help lower blood pressure. It includes less salt, alcohol, red meat, fat and sweets including sweetened drinks.

But it also includes more fruits, vegetables and high fibre foods (whole grain products such as whole wheat/meal bread, bran, oats, as well as more peas, beans and nuts).

Weight loss for the overweight and obese is important in controlling hypertension. This can be achieved by a combination of dietary control and exercise. To lose weight you need to eat less and have a lower calorie intake but frequent little meals, and not starvation, is the key.

Exercise is beneficial in lowering blood pressure on its own, even in those of normal weight. Aerobic exercise can take many forms including running, skipping and dancing.

Some people can have their hypertension controlled through diet and exercise alone but most will still need the assistance of medication. Medication is varied but it must be stressed that it needs to be taken everyday, as prescribed by the doctor, unless the person is experiencing ill effects, which he must inform his doctor about.

So there! We’re done. That’s the end of hypertension. I’ve taught you almost everything I know. Feel free if you have questions or comments. See you next week. Dr. Louella is out!!!

Hypertension 2 – Causes


Hello there. This is Dr Louella picking up the discussion where we left off. I must, of course, say a special hello to my peeps in Trinidad and Tobago. In the previous post I discussed about hypertension (high blood pressure) and that it really does not have any symptoms. Blood pressure is the force or pressure the heart gives the blood when it pumps.

Today I would like to touch on what causes high blood pressure. Well our kidneys are what set the level of our blood pressure. In hypertension something in that mechanism goes wrong, they’re still not too sure what, causing our blood pressure to be set at a higher level.

Now normally a person’s blood pressure fluctuates based on their physically activity and the emotional state they are in. This makes sense. When you exercise, your heart beats harder and faster, thus elevating your blood pressure. When you’re in an argument with someone, you find that your heart is pounding. When we are stressed, our blood vessels constrict, increasing the pressure of the blood flowing through it. I have seen people’s blood pressure go through the roof when they’re in extreme pain.

But all of these are temporary states. The body requires more blood to reach the various organs and it does so by increasing the blood pressure. In fact, if our blood pressure does not increase at these times to meet the demands, we would be in all sorts of problems. When the state is removed the person’s blood pressure comes back to normal.

A person whose blood pressure comes back down to normal after a brief period of elevation due to an identifiable cause, does NOT have hypertension. A person whose blood pressure is elevated most of the time when relaxed, does. You can now understand the value of monitoring blood pressure over a period of time and not making a diagnosis based on one reading. Also since emotions and activity affect blood pressure, the value of being relaxed when taking a reading.

I am always in amazement that, in Trinidad at least, medical professionals get so hung up on a person’s blood pressure no matter what the principal complaint. If a person is really sick, they’re going to be stressed and their blood pressure will rise. Treat the illness. I say that in the context that ONE high blood pressure rarely kills. We have enough time to deal with that.

Well, this is Dr Louella, signing out. We have a lot more on this topic but another day. I hope you learned a little something that you can apply to your life and make it better. Ciao!