Heart Concerns Brought To The ER Are Oftentimes Brought About By Uncontrolled Blood Pressure

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Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a tricky thing. Some don’t feel their pressure soaring and find out a little too late. That’s why regularly checking your blood pressure can help its management. There is a good number of emergency room patients that come in heart problems. When checked, their high blood pressure is the culprit behind their health issues, and this is brought about by unhealthy lifestyle habits. This was what a new study suggested.

Around 1 in 10 adults treated for heart problems in U.S. emergency rooms suffer from what they essential hypertension. This is a type of high blood pressure that isn’t brought about by a specific medical condition, a new study said.

The most common reason behind emergencies that are related to the heart is essential hypertension, especially for women. This accounts for around 16 percent of cases. This is also the second-most common cause for men. The recorded number of cases encompasses around 11 percent of the total. This is  according to study findings published September 8 in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The study made looked into the nationally representative data of around 20 million emergency department visits from the years 2016 to 2018.

However, not everything is dire. There is good news to be said, especially for those that were treated in the U.S. emergency rooms for essential hypertension and other heart-related issues. Many of them survive. On average, around 2.2 percent of patients die in the emergency room and just 1.7 percent of these patients pass away after admission in the hospital, the study saw.

Around 2.7 percent of those with essential hypertension were feeling sick, and enough to have themselves admitted. More importantly, less than 0.1 percent of them lost their lives. This means that many of the visits to the emergency room for essential hypertension could have been prevented if the patients took care of themselves better before it became serious, according to the senior study author, Mamas Mamas, MBBS, DPhil. He is from the Centre for Prognosis Research at Keele University in Staffordshire, England.

“These visits were mostly related to the management of hypertension,” he said.

All About Essential Hypertension

Essential hypertensionis also called primary or idiopathic hypertension. The culprit behind this is not a specific medical condition or one clear health issue. This was according to the Cleveland Clinic. Rather, this is brought about due to a combination of factors.

There are risk factors involved such as advanced age or a family history of high blood pressure. These things can’t be avoided. But it must be noted that essential hypertension oftentimes involves the practice of unhealthy habits or is caused by lifestyle-related health issues, as per the Cleveland Clinic.

The following habits or behaviors should be modified in order to prevent or reverse essential hypertension. Among which are:

  • High salt intake during meals
  • Taking too much caffeine
  • Excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Getting little to no exercise
  • Having sleep issues such as insomnia
  • Suffering from type 2 diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese

In the new study made, 35 percent of the participants smoked. This was also the most common preventable risk factor. Around 3 in 10 people suffered from type 2 diabetes and almost 13 percent were obese. These two could have been improved or reversed just to reduce any type of risk, especially essential hypertension.

Of course, the study also had limitations. One of which was that it relied on data for insurance claims. These may not always accurately explain the person’s thorough medical histories or encompass all the health issues that contributed to their trip to the emergency room. Another limitation was that the diagnoses were also determined when they were released. This was a point wherein the exact diagnosis might have been extremely clear for the patients, particularly for those who suffer from more complex cases or multiple problems.

Undiagnosed or Uncontrolled Hypertension

Despite the limitations, however, there are several previous research findings that suggest that it’s quite common for people to suffer from undiagnosed or poorly managed high blood pressure. Roughly 50 percent of the 75 million Americans who live with high blood pressure are unable to fully control their condition. This was according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Around 11 million people aren’t even aware that their blood pressure is higher than normal and are therefore not getting the help they need to manage their condition.

study that was published in March 2020 in Family and Community Health saw that a lack of accessible or affordable care isn’t the full reason behind the the lack of treatment: Researchers saw how 3 in 4 patients with undiagnosed hypertension actually had health insurance. This hidden hypertension is behind the 72 percent of cases of those under the age of 35 years old, and 57 percent of those aged 36 to 49. This was what the researchers saw. Hidden hypertension accounts for as high as two-thirds of cases among those with normal body weight.

Even when the patients who have been diagnosed are prescribed with medications that lower blood pressure, only 2 out of 5 can get the pressure under control. This was what one U.S. study in the September 2020 International Journal of Cardiology Hypertension discovered.

“Both lack of awareness and lack of treatment contribute to uncontrolled blood pressure,” said Mitchell Elkind, MD. He is the chief clinical science officer of the American Heart Association as well as a professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University in New York City.

“Hypertension is often called the silent killer because people are not aware they have it until they have a stroke, heart attack, or other adverse event,” explained Dr. Elkind. He wasn’t part of the new study. He also added, “Lack of awareness and lack of access to medical care through adequate insurance are particularly problematic among communities of color and marginalized communities.”


How to Manage Your Blood Pressure

Blood pressure readings are made and those under about 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) are considered normal, as per the CDC. Those who are diagnosed with high blood pressure typically have readings that are at least 130/80 mmHg, said the experts from CDC.

For many who have been recently diagnosed with high blood pressure, lifestyle changes would often be the very first thing doctors would advise. CDC recommends the following adjustments and changes:

  • You need to have at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This means that you must exercise for 30 daily or around 5 days each week.
  • You need to give up smoking altogether.
  • You need to eat healthy. Include fresh fruits and veggies in your daily meals.
  • Limits your salt and alcohol intake.
  • You must maintain a healthy weight.
  • Managing stress is a must.

There are some that are asked to take medication to lower blood pressure. Doctors can prescribe an array of meds alone or in combination with diuretics so that your body is able to expel excess sodium and water. You may also need to take beta-blockers that help lower heart rate as well as ACE inhibitors to help extend the width of the blood vessels and relax them. This was stated by the American Heart Association or AHA.

“Some patients may be able to control their blood pressure through weight loss, dietary changes such as reducing salt intake, or avoidance of alcohol,” Elkind said. “For others, medications may be needed; fortunately we have many safe and effective medications to choose from.”