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Heart & Blood Pressure

It is a muscle about the size of your fist which weighs approximately one pound and it is located behind and slightly to the left of the breastbone. Heart pumps about 5 quarts (4.7 liters) of blood every minute or 1800 gallons (6768 liters) of blood every day. A healthy heart beats steadily and rhythmically at a rate of about 60 to 100 beats per minute when at rest (normal sinus rhythm). During strenuous exercise, the heart can increase the amount of blood it pumps up to four times the amount it pumps at rest, within only a matter of seconds.  Read more

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HEART is an organ about the size of your fist which weighs approximately one pound and it is located behind and slightly to the left of the breastbone. Heart pumps about 5 quarts (4.7 liters) of blood every minute or 1800 gallons (6768 liters) of blood every day.

A healthy heart beats steadily and rhythmically at a rate of about 60 to 100 beats per minute when at rest (normal sinus rhythm). During strenuous exercise, the heart can increase the amount of blood it pumps up to four times the amount it pumps at rest, within only a matter of seconds.

The heart has four chambers:

  • The right atrium receives blood from the veins and pumps it to the right ventricle.
  • The right ventricle receives blood from the right atrium and pumps it to the lungs, where it is loaded with oxygen.
  • The left atrium receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it to the left ventricle.
  • The left ventricle (the strongest chamber) pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. The left ventricle’s vigorous contractions create our blood pressure.

THE FUNCTION OF HEART

The main function of heart is to circulate the blood throughout the body:

  • Pumping blood through the lungs removes carbon dioxide and refreshes the blood with oxygen.
  • The oxygenated blood is pumped to the body to provide oxygen and nutrients and to remove waste products.

MAJOR HEART PROBLEMS

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Stable angina pectoris
  • Unstable angina pectoris
  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Arrhythmia (dysrhythmia)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Myocarditis
  • Pericarditis
  • Pericardial effusion
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Heart valve disease
  • Heart murmur
  • Endocarditis
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Sudden cardiac death
  • Cardiac arrest

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. High blood pressure (HBP) means the pressure in your arteries is higher than it should be. Another name for high blood pressure is hypertension.

Blood pressure is written as two numbers, such as 117/79 mm Hg.

  • The top, systolic, number is the pressure when the heart beats
  •  The bottom, diastolic, number is the pressure when the heart rests between beats

Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. If you’re an adult and your systolic pressure is 120 to 139, or your diastolic pressure is 80 to 89 (or both), you have “prehypertension”. High blood pressure is a pressure of 140 systolic or higher and/or 90 diastolic or higher that stays high over time.

No one knows accurately what is the cause of most cases of high blood pressure. It can’t be cured, but it can be managed. High blood pressure usually has no signs or symptoms. That’s why it is so dangerous.

WHO IS AT RISK?

  • People whose close blood relatives have high blood pressure (HBP)
  • People who are over age 35
  • People who aren’t physically active
  • Overweight people
  • People who consume too much salt
  • People who drink too much alcohol
  • People with diabetes, gout or kidney disease
  • Pregnant women
  • Women who are taking birth control pills, who are overweight, had HBP during pregnancy, have a family history of HBP or have mild kidney disease

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

You can’t tell actually because the symptoms are not so striking enough. You have to actually get it checked regularly.

WHAT MAY BE THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF HYPERTENSION?

  • Heart attack, angina or both
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Peripheral arterial disease

Treatment of Hypertension: Medications, dosage and their side effects

Class

Drug

Usual dosage(mg)

Side effects

Thiazide

Diuretic

 

Chlorthalidone HCTZ

12.5-25daily 12.5-25 daily

Hypokalemia, hyponatremia, gout

ACEI

Lisinopril Benazepril

10-40 daily

10-40 daily

Cough,hyperkalemia, angioedema

ARB

Losartan Irbesartan

50-100 daily

150-300 daily

Hyperkalemia

CCB dihydropyridine

Amlodipine Felodipine

2.5-10 daily

2.5-10 daily

Edema

CCB Non-DHP

DiltiazemER Verapamil ER

120-360daily 120-360 daily

Edema, CHF, heart block, constipation

Beta-blockers

Metopropol tartrate

25-100twice daily

CHF, heart block Dizziness

Alpha-blockers

Doxazosin

1-8 daily

Orthostatic dizziness, edema, CHF

Adrenergic

Guanfacine Clonidine

1-4 daily 0.1-0.4 twice daily

Rebound with withdrawal, dry mouth, sedation

What can you do to control high blood pressure?

Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you may avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.

Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline: body weight surely plays a very important role as blood pressure increases as the weight increases. Besides keeping a check on the weight of the body one should also keep a track on the waistline because carrying too much weight around your stomach can put you on a greater risk towards the high blood pressure.


Exercise regularly: regular exercise on the most of the days of the week will surely help you to reduce your BP 4-5 points.


Eat a healthy diet: healthy diet comprising of fruits, vegetables and dairy products must be included in the diet rather than supplements and junk food. Potassium diet is strongly recommended for the people with high BP as it reduces the effects of sodium and calcium


Reduce sodium in your diet: limit sodium to 2300 mg a day/less. People over 51 yr and the Afro–American should try to limit the salt intake as low as 1500mg a day or less.


Reduce your stress: Stress or anxiety can temporarily increase blood pressure. Take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as work, family, finances or illness. Once you know what's causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.


Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
Avoid tobacco products and secondhand smoke
Cut back on caffeine
Monitor your blood pressure at home and make regular doctor's appointments
Get support from family and friends

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