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Improvements in the quality of life and access to healthcare worldwide are associated with greater longevity – for instance, in some countries, life expectancy may amount up to 80 years and more. While a longer life is a positive tendency, it gives rise to an increase in age-related health disorders which contributes to the global and national burden of disease. One of the most prevalent health conditions associated with age is hypertension. According to a report by World Health Organization, almost half of the people over the age of 25 suffered from hypertension at least once in their lives (Kishore, Gupta, Kohli, & Kumar, 2016). This essay will provide an informative summary of symptoms, causes, and treatment of hypertension.
Hypertension is a health condition that is characterized by high blood pressure (HBP). For blood pressure to be considered abnormally high, the readings should consistently display 140 over 90 or higher. It is essential to understand that a single occasion of HBP due to some factors be it stress or environmental conditions does not mean that a patient suffers from hypertension. For a proper diagnosis, a patient showing typical symptoms and making complaints should make regular appointments at his or her GP’s and measure blood pressure at home as well.
The symptoms of hypertension can be very mild, and the condition may go unnoticed for years on end. The signs may vary from patient to patient, but typically, if symptoms are present, they include severe headaches, chest ache, difficulty breathing, the feeling of weakness, and fatigue. The main reason why it is imperative to pay attention to symptoms and make an early diagnosis is the extensive list of possible complications. When neglected and untreated, HBP can lead to heart attack or a stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, and even dementia; in some cases, HBP can be lethal.
The primary risk factor for HBP is old age since blood vessels lose their elasticity over time (Buford, 2016). Among other factors is the presence of the condition in a patient’s close relatives. Other underlying causes are associated with a patient’s lifestyle: drinking alcohol in excess, smoking tobacco, and not being physically active (Leung et al., 2017). If diagnosed with HBP, a patient is usually prescribed beta-blockers, diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) (Weber et al., 2014). However, taking medication alone does not solve the problem, and a patient should revise his or her daily habits and make improvements.
Target Audience and Health Literacy
A study by McNaughton et al. (2014) showed that the lack of medical knowledge was associated with elevated blood pressure especially in those patients who had not been officially diagnosed with HBP. Hence, it is critical that a patient takes charge of his or her health and takes measures to prevent or control the condition and improve their overall health literacy. The target audience of the health brochure on hypertension would consist of patients over 45 years – a typical age of onset.
It is also reasonable to spread the brochure among patients belonging to risk groups – for instance, among those suffering from obesity or diabetes. Even though hypertension is associated with mature or old age, as per the report by the World Health Organization, young people might also be susceptible to developing HBP. Thus, a health practitioner could promote better dietary habits and a fitness routine to help to eliminate risks.
Over the last few decades, heightened blood pressure has become a significant public health challenge as it was found to be one of the risks of cardiovascular mortality. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is alarmingly prevalent among individuals over the age of 45. While health practitioners are trained to address the issue, the patients should gain control of their lifestyle as well. An informative health brochure with links to credible sources can help patients make well-informed health decisions.
Buford, T. W. (2016). Hypertension and aging. Ageing Research Reviews, 26, 96-111. Web.
Kishore, J., Gupta, N., Kohli, C., & Kumar, N. (2016). Prevalence of hypertension and determination of its risk factors in rural Delhi. International Journal of Hypertension, 2016, 7962595.
Leung, A. A., Daskalopoulou, S. S., Dasgupta, K., McBrien, K., Butalia, S., Zarnke, K. B.,… & Gelfer, M. (2017). Hypertension Canada’s 2017 guidelines for diagnosis, risk assessment, prevention, and treatment of hypertension in adults. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 33(5), 557-576. Web.
McNaughton, C. D., Kripalani, S., Cawthon, C., Mion, L. C., Wallston, K. A., & Roumie, C. L. (2014). Association of health literacy with elevated blood pressure: A cohort study of hospitalized patients. Medical Care, 52(4), 346-353. Web.
Weber, M. A., Schiffrin, E. L., White, W. B., Mann, S., Lindholm, L. H., Kenerson, J. G.,… & Cohen, D. L. (2014). Clinical practice guidelines for the management of hypertension in the community: A statement by the American Society of Hypertension and the International Society of Hypertension. The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 16(1), 14-26. Web.