hypertension facts

The straightforward guide to high blood pressure, asthma, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease

If you're looking for in-depth information about high blood pressure, asthma, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, you've come to the right place.

Our objective is simple: To give you facts about the above diseases in layman's terms.

Have you ever wanted to know more about diseases than what your doctor could share with you? Your health care giver is a busy professional. He or she can spend only so much time explaining things to you.

Unfortunately, that can leave you with a feeling that you don't understand it all.

After all, it's your body and your life. You have a natural right to know what these diseases are really about, the treatments involved, possible consequences, what you can do to help recovery, steps you can take to help prevent the onset of disease and more. That's what this site is all about.

Ignorance can be truly dangerous when it comes to your health. If you are well-informed, you are better equipped to deal with these diseases. Plus you can cooperate better with your health care professional.

The following sections will give you information on each of the health areas we cover. 

During an asthma attack, the patient's airways get inflamed and constricted which results in breathing difficulties, wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest region and other symptoms.

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The airways often secrete an excess amount of mucous and become inflamed. A number of factors can trigger off an asthma episode including cold air, emotional distress, pollen / other allergens and more.

This airway obstruction is variable and can change spontaneously on its own, either improving or worsening. It can also improve in response to medication.

Asthma attacks can be mild or even severe enough to threaten life. On the positive side, asthma episodes can usually be controlled fairly quickly through medication and changes in the patient's environment.

Some researchers believe that all kinds of asthma are related to one single underlying condition. Others think that entirely separate conditions of the lungs cause different types of asthma.

No specific cause has been identified conclusively so far. While asthma can be managed, there is no comprehensive cure yet.

See the following link for more information on asthma.

Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure.

The heart pumps oxygenated blood to various parts of the body through arteries. As is the case when any liquid flows through a pipe, the blood flowing through the arteries exerts pressure on the arterial walls. The greater this pressure, the higher the level of blood pressure in the body.

It is easy to understand that when the arteries are relatively larger in size or when they are relaxed and dilated, the pressure of blood flowing through them will be relatively lower than when they are smaller or constricted.

When the heart beats to push blood out into the arteries, the pressure is at its peak. Then, the heart relaxes and allows itself to fill with blood. At this point, the pressure within the arteries is at its lowest.

The term systolic pressure refers to the pressure when the heart beats, i.e., the peak pressure as described above. Diastolic pressure is when the heart relaxes and represents the lowest pressure in the arteries.

When blood pressure at these points is above the normal ranges, the condition is called hypertension or high blood pressure.

Hypertension can be a serious condition because it can cause damage to many body organs including the kidneys, eyes and heart, among others. It is all the more serious because hypertension is usually a silent condition and does not become obvious through easily recognizable symptoms.

Fortunately, it is possible to control hypertension. In many cases, all that is necessary to control mild hypertension is to cut down on sodium intake as well as alcohol and reduce excess body weight.

However, not all instances of hypertension will respond to the above. Moderate and severe cases may require medication of various kinds. That can include beta blockers, alpha blockers, diuretics, chemical compounds that can influence the brain's control centers, calcium antagonists, certain kinds of enzyme inhibitors and so on.

The right medication coupled with lifestyle changes will in most cases allow the patient to lead a normal life.

Apart from the above, certain cases of hypertension may be due to specific causes that require surgical intervention to correct. However, that is true of a minority of cases only.

Certain kinds of heightened blood pressure do not qualify as hypertension. For instance, someone under stress in the workplace may show elevated blood pressure. Blood pressure can also go up during physical exercise. Since these are usually temporary increases in pressure, they are not considered hypertension.

To get critical facts on hypertension, follow the previous link.

Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease is the name given to a neurological disorder that results in memory problems / loss and impairment in one or more other mental functions.

Alzheimer's patients may suffer from speech problems or from a distorted perception of reality, apart from memory loss.

The real causes of Alzheimer's disease are not known yet. It is believed that something called beta-amyloid protein accumulates in the brain leading to the death of nerve cells.

When enough nerve cells die, there won't be enough neurotransmitters in the brain to carry chemical messages back and forth. This is what gives rise to the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

The single most important factor that leads to Alzheimer's disease is age. And today, with an ageing population, the incidence of Alzheimer's is growing.

Genetic factors are also thought to play a part and the risk of someone getting Alzheimer's is higher if several close family members have this condition.

For additional information on Alzheimer's disease, follow the previous link.

Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement skills and speech.

Cells in the brain that control movement begin to die. Symptoms include tremors (which are often the first sign), stooped posture, slowness of movement (termed bradykinesia) as well as muscle rigidity.

The real causes of Parkinson's remain unknown. It occurs when brain cells in a region called the substantia nigra (a movement control center) begin to degenerate.

Substantia nigra releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine which helps to fine tune body movements. In Parkinson's patients, not enough dopamine is produced. This ultimately affects the ability to walk, control hand movements, write and other motor skills.

Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include hand tremors (which often occur on one side initially), muscle rigidity which results in jerky movements, slowing down or even completely stopping in the middle of normal movements like walking, shaving and writing.

Other symptoms include difficulty in maintaining balance which leads to a characteristic shuffling gait, changes in speech, depression and more.

Explore this site for more information about each of the above diseases.

Asthma | High blood pressure | Alzheimer's disease | Parkinson's disease

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