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Hypertension/pathophysiology - Essay Example

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It needs to be monitored and treated because in the long-term it may lead to organ damage causing death. The pathophysiology of hypertension is quite complex and myriads of theories have been…
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Download file to see previous pages... The condition of perennial hypertension in the patient is a leading cause for heart attacks or failures, stroke and renal failure. While physiology of secondary hypertension is well understood, it is the pathophysiology of essential hypertension that remains an area of concern for medical researchers.
Systemic vascular resistance along with cardiac output causes blood pressure. That means a person with hypertension may have an increased vascular resistance, an enhanced cardiac output, or both. In older patients, systemic vascular resistance due to stiffness of the vasculature is a dominant reason for hypertension. Increased release of peptides such as endothelins or angiotensin could be the cause of elevated vascular tone. Vasoconstriction occurs due to increased calcium in vascular muscle. Increased Vascular stiffness and systemic vascular resistance lead to enhanced load on the left ventricle causing left ventricular hypertrophy or diastolic dysfunction (Foex, 2004).
In younger patient, the left ventricle pulse pressure is comparatively low; however, with ageing, due to stiffening of the aorta the pulse pressure increases resulting into left ventricular overload causing ventricular hypertrophy. The pulse pressure widening with ageing is an indication of coronary heart disease (Foex, 2004).
More than 90% hypertension cases do not lead to any known cause. Several pathophysiologic factors have been found to have genesis in increased nervous system activity, enhanced production of sodium-retaining hormones, vasoconstriction, high-sodium intake, inadequate calcium and potassium intake, increased renin secretion resulting into enhanced production of aldosterone and aniotensin II, abnormality in vessels carrying blood, diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, insufficient vasodilators such as nitric oxide (NO) (Oparil, 2003).
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Normal levels of BP defined by Joint National Committee 7 (JNC 7) state values of 120 mm of Hg and 80 mm of Hg for systolic and diastolic respectively (Chobanian et al. 2003). The American Heart Association (AHA) defines hypertension as systolic and diastolic BP higher than 140 and 90 mm of Hg respectively (Carretero & Oparil 2000).
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