HYPERTENSION SERIES 4
Do you have hypertension?
“God forbid! It’s not my portion.” She said emphatically, circling her right arm around her head thrice and then snapping her fingers.
“Alright, ma’am. Have you ever checked your blood pressure before?”
“It’s only the sick that need a physician. I have divine health. Sickness can never come near me. A thousand shall fall at my side and ten thousand by my right hand but it can never come near me.”
“Do I take this to mean you have never had your BP checked in the past?”
She shifted uneasily on her seat as her forehead drew together in a frown. She then muttered under her breath.
“They have checked it one or two times and they said that ‘my enemy’ has high BP.
But I rejected it immediately.” Her voice had gone a pitch higher now.
“I only believe the report of the Lord, not that of mortals created by my father.”
“Did they give ‘your enemy’ any medication that time?”
“Yes, that was a long time ago. Took it and started praying about it. The next time I checked, it was normal. I even gave testimony for the healing. Affliction shall not arise a second time! I reject and rebuke you, the spirit of high BP! You have no place in this body.”
“Madam, please listen. The reason I’m asking you this question is that I recognize your symptoms are those of complications of untreated or uncontrolled hypertension.”
In the course of my practice, I have come across so many people whose hypertension was first diagnosed after they had developed complications. On further probing, the majority had been diagnosed earlier but disregarded it, since they had no symptoms. Some others had taken medications for a few weeks and believed they had been cured. Another group is those who rationalised the reason they should have a high BP.
“Oh, it’s because I have been anxious lately, it will normalise once I finish this Program.”
“I have been thinking a lot, once I stop I’m sure it will become normal, so there’s no need to keep checking it.”
And it doesn’t stop there. While still in denial, a lot of damage is being done by the high BP.
An individual who has hypertension but is not on medication can develop complications affecting different organs. Unfortunately, you cannot choose the complications you would prefer to have. It can be anything from a stroke or kidney failure, to erectile dysfunction.
A persistently elevated BP hardens your blood vessels and makes them less elastic. This reduces blood flow to vital organs such as your heart, kidneys, brain, and eyes.
Let’s dig a little deeper. Hypertension can affect different parts of your body, from head to toe.
Hypertension can cause blindness when it affects the blood vessels supplying the inner part of your eyes – the retina. Your retina blood vessels suffer damage in different ways. They can become hard, get blocked, bulge out (aneurysm) and/or rupture. This leads to blurred vision, seeing dark spots (floaters) or dark shadows in your visual field, or total loss of vision. Hypertensive retinopathy (disease of the retina caused by hypertension) is a progressive disease that can be slowed down with good BP control.
Silent strokes are little blockages in blood vessels in the brain which do not cause any stroke symptoms. Many silent strokes can culminate in dementia (trouble with memory, learning, and understanding) later in life.
Hypertensive heart disease is an enlargement of different parts of your heart muscles due to the amount of work they have to do, pumping blood at higher pressures than normal.
Myocardial infarction or heart attack is a result of hardening and blockage of blood vessels supplying the muscles of the heart. This causes severe chest pain that feels like a crushing heaviness in the left chest.
Heart failure results from the inability of the heart to meet up with pumping blood against the higher pressure in your vessels adequately. This then causes difficulty breathing, cough, leg swelling, and right-sided tummy pain.
Hypertension causes narrowing of blood vessels supplying the kidneys. This may result in kidney failure if your kidneys are continuously starved of adequate blood to perform their functions.
Erectile dysfunction is an inability to achieve and sustain an erection long enough for sexual intercourse. This can happen in hypertension because of the thickening and narrowing of the blood vessels of the penis. Hypertension can also cause low libido in women.
Peripheral blood vessels
It is common knowledge that diabetes can cause non-healing leg ulcers. Do you know that hypertension can also be a cause and It can lead to leg amputation? Here’s how hypertension can cause foot gangrene (darkening and loss of feeling on the foot) and amputation. Blood flow to your leg can reduce due to thickening and narrowing from the effect of hypertension. This causes pain, numbness, and heaviness of the foot. As this progresses, there can be a complete blockage of a major blood vessel, which results in foot gangrene, which is treated by cutting off the foot (amputation).
The bottom line is that hypertension affects every part of your body where blood flows to. These effects can only be slowed down or stopped by adequate control of blood pressure with dietary and lifestyle changes. The next article will discuss preventive measures. Watch out for it.