Category Archives: Senior Health & MedIcal

Cause and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

In order to understand the cause and symptoms of high blood pressure, you first must understand that there are two different kinds, essential (or primary) hypertension and secondary hypertension.

Essential Hypertension:

Essential hypertension is when the cause of high blood pressure is known and is the most common form. This is frequently brought on by the basic changes associated with aging. Blood pressure tends to increase as people get older and as larger arteries gradually begin to stiffen and small arteries may become partially blocked. Experts believe that this hardening and stiffening of arteries may be the reason that blood pressure seems to get higher as we age. It is also believed that an unhealthy diet and chronic stress may also be a cause of high blood pressure as we age. Also, obesity and kidney functioning may be a prominent cause of high blood pressure. Interestingly enough, in non-industrialized countries blood-pressure does not seem to increase as much when people age. These differences may be at least partially explained by the level of stress engendered in modern everyday life.

Secondary Hypertension:

Secondary hypertension is much more rare and is believed to be related to several disorders. Disorders such as partial blockage of arteries to the kidneys (diseases such as atherosclerosis), and diseases which cause damage to the kidneys such as infections or diabetes may result in secondary hypertension. Also, sleep apnea, or tumors in the adrenal glands which are located on the top of your kidneys, may also be a cause of hypertension of the secondary variety.

Certain drugs are also believed to be a cause of secondary hypertension such as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), and even over-the-counter allergy drugs and cold remedies that contain phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine.

Symptoms of high blood pressure:

Symptoms of high blood pressure can be relatively difficult to determine in that some people have no symptoms at all. While they may blame high blood pressure for their headaches and the ringing in their ears, these symptoms may occur whether their blood pressure is high or not. Some people believe that their symptoms of high blood pressure include feeling flushed or just not feeling right.

The actual symptoms of high blood pressure may occur when there’s been damage to one or more of the bodily organs, which frequently may include the brain, heart or kidneys. The additional damage to these organs may be incurred if the symptoms of high blood pressure are not treated or are treated inadequately.

When you have very high symptoms of high blood pressure, you may have a sudden headache with loss of sensation and possibly paralysis of one half of your body. These symptoms are usually caused by the rupture of an artery in the brain, sometimes referred to as a hemorrhagic stroke.

Chest pain associated with coronary artery disease may also occur. If this happens, your legs and feet may swell and you may become short of breath during physical activity and eventually even during rest. Damaged kidneys may result in frequent urination, and if damage is severe you may feel nauseated and tired.

Additional symptoms of high blood pressure include blurred vision. This is usually the result of arteries in the eyes being damaged. If one of these arteries rupture, vision problems may occur, making this one the more troublesome symptoms of high blood pressure.

Some information inspired by The Merck Manual of Health of Aging

Additional information and web page by Paul Susic Ph.D.. Licensed Psychologist (Health Psychology)

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Five Tips For Better Back Health

Chances are pretty good you and the person next to you have something in common: back pain. According to the National Institutes of Health, 8 out of 10 people will at some point suffer back pain that hinders their work, daily living, and leisure activities.

Acute injuries lasting a few days or weeks most likely stem from traumas such as falls, sports injuries, strains from working around the house, or automobile accidents. The pain becomes chronic if it stays around longer than three months. Seek medical attention as soon as possible after an injury, and you can minimize the time it takes to return to your normal routine.

Here are five tips to help prevent back pain:

1. Always carry packages close to your body. Carrying packages close to your body prevents unnecessary strain on you low back. Always test how heavy a box or bag is before lifting. When in doubt, ask for help!

2. Clean out your purse/wallet frequently. I went purse shopping yesterday, and, quite frankly, I was amazed that most purses were the size of brief cases! Carry only what you truly need in your purse. If it is too heavy, the weight can promote a postural imbalance. As for wallets in you back pocket, keep them cleaned out too. A bulging wallet can push your pelvis out of balance when you sit, with one hip higher than the other. When driving long distances, try putting your wallet in the glove compartment.

3. Get up from your desk every half hour and stretch. Most of us bring a strong work ethic to our jobs, where we often face recurring deadlines and a demand for high productivity. By putting your own needs on the back burner, however, you take a toll on your body, physically and emotionally. A daily stretching routine-right at your desk-can reduce stress, improve your posture, and even ease back pain. You don’t need expensive equipment, and you don’t need a substantial block of time. There’s always time to sneak in a stretch or two-no matter where you are.

4. Sit with proper posture. Some of my clients sit with their legs curled under them, some sit with their legs crossed, and some sit with their heads pushed forward because they work at a computer. Each of these postures can lead to back problems. If you make your living sitting down-either at a desk or behind a steering wheel-try using a low back support pillow in your chair or seat. It’s also important to keep your feet flat on the floor when you’re seated. And, finally, low heels are better for you back than high heels.

5. Get regular back care from your healthcare providers. Do receive regular care from your healthcare team, which may include orthopedic, osteopathic, or chiropractic physicians as well as physical, occupational and massage therapists. Athletic trainers are also great members of your back healthcare team.

About the Author:

Lisa has been helping people overcome pain and injury for more than two decades as a licensed occupational therapist, licensed massage therapist and teacher. In her 20-plus-year occupational therapy career, she has held a variety of positions as therapist, therapy supervisor and therapy instructor. She has experience in geriatric care and has practiced in home and outpatient as well as clinical settings.

Lisa received a bachelor of science in occupational therapy from the University of Kansas in 1985. She graduated from the Center of Rehabilitation Education massage program in Knoxville in 2005.

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