Hypertension: Prevalence, Severity and Impacts

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 8
Words: 1963
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: College

Introduction

Hypertension is one of the most notable chronic conditions affecting a significant number of people today. For instance, latest medical statistics reveal that about 67% of Americans today over the age of sixty are high blood patients with similar figures being reported in countries like Australia and Canada (Black &Elliott 2007). It is becoming a real medical concern with higher monetary budget being set aside to cater for the management of the chronic condition. The force exerted by the blood as it passes through the blood veins constitutes blood pressure. This pumping force through the arteries becomes even higher if the veins are narrow therefore accounting for a high blood pressure. A standard and medically acceptable blood pressure is that which does not exceed a systolic mean of 120 mm Hg in terms of the blood force through the arteries. The systolic pressure records the force which is exerted by blood as it flows through the veins. On the other hand, the pressure between each lapse as the heat pumps is determined using the Diastolic pressure. Both of these parameters are crucial in the diagnosis of hypertension.

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Hypertension is the main cause of Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) and stroke. It has often been referred to as a “latent killer” due to the fact that there are no physical symptoms which can help diagnose the condition. For this reason, early detection through screening processes is highly recommended for individuals with high prevalence rate.

Prevalence, severity and Impacts of hypertension

Latest estimates reveal that approximately one billion patients are under the devastating effect of hypertension in the world today. Moreover, this figure is expected to go on an upward trend and top one and half billion people in the next fifteen years. These are alarming figures especially bearing in mind that hypertension is a chronic condition which can only be managed upon onset with no permanently known cure. The prevalence rate is noted to be higher in developed countries than in the mushrooming economies.

Epidemiological studies over the years have attempted to have a critical look at the level of hypertension which is regarded as medically dangerous. Even with such studies in place, the health risk posed by high blood pressure has continued to be a cause for major concern both to healthcare providers and patients who are already reeling under the effect of the disease.

The basic hypertension commonly known as the essential type has been diagnosed in over 90 per cent of patients. The essential hypertension has been found to be the most common type and hence its prevalence if definitely the highest when research data are compared from diverse geographical locations. In addition, those who are already under medication for hypertension are on the increase. For example the higher prevalence rate among the adult population in the United States of America has led to about 24 per cent of the senior citizens being put under medication (Royal College of Physicians 2006). This ratio is dependent on race; there are more blacks than whites who have put under anti-hypertension medication. Another prevalence factor is age. Countries which are industrially advanced have their populations experiencing a constant rise in systolic BP. The increase in systolic BP directly leads to an increase in blood pressure culminating into hypertension Furthermore; epidemiological studies have found that high blood pressure is more pronounced in males than females. However, as women approach menopause stage, they stand almost an equal chance as men in the prevalence rate of hypertension (Egan, Basile & Lackland 2004). Socioeconomic standards of the target population are also considered as an important ingredient in the prevalence rate of hypertension. This is mainly attributed to the fact that high blood pressure is a lifestyle disease which is greatly enhanced by the nature or standard of life which people lead. A case example of a lifestyle phenomenon is the dietary intake. Fatty foods with high cholesterol content precipitate the onset of hypertension in the long period.

There are a myriad of clinical impacts to patients which are associated with hypertension. As the condition develops, patients do experience the hardening of blood vessels. In other words, the blood vessels thicken and become narrow therefore restricting the free flow of blood to and from the heart (Weir 2005). Consequently, individuals are exposed to coronary heart disease which in any case culminates into heart failure. Another complication which negatively impacts on patients with high blood pressure is the peripheral artery disease. This disease develops when the blood arteries in the arms are internally blocked by fatty tissues thereby inhibiting blood flow. This is one of the most significant risk factors for mortality rate in developed countries if the disease is not detected and managed at an early stage, it may lead to stroke and Cardiovascular Diseases.

The Australian Health Plus model can be used in the early detection and hence early management and treatment of hypertension. The model stipulates a myriad of procedures which can be incorporated into the healthcare practice to alleviate the physical harm caused by high blood pressure. However, the present condition depicts a substantial lack of uniformity between the reality on the ground and policy documentations. It will therefore be imperative for medical providers as well as healthcare managers to find a lasting solution to the inherent medical challenges which have continued to impede early detection and treatment of hypertension. In addition, adequate financial resources to aid in the process of carrying out early detection are required (Canlas 2000). Most patients with high blood pressure often succumb to deteriorating health status faster than it is necessary due to delayed diagnosis followed by late treatment. Additionally, funding models which aim at offering a broadband healthcare initiative to patients suffering from chronic conditions is highly called for. This is particularly important owing to the fact that encouraging individual patients to run the due process of early detection and treatment can prove to be less effective because not all individual persons may be in a capacity to prioritize their health status and needs; some exhaustive healthcare framework is needed to ascertain such measures. For instance, the United Kingdom has recently developed some medical policy guidelines on the early detection and early treatment of hypertension due to the increasing health impact it poses on affected patients. Some of the worst effects which are yet to be clinically addressed include brain damage and associated kidney failure all being attributed to high blood pressure.

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Role of nurses and inter professional team

As the prevalence of hypertension continues to be on the rise in addition to its clinical relevance, the nursing fraternity and the entire fraternity in healthcare provision is not spared at all. They have been impacted by the noble role which entails the care required by the adult patient group. As a result, every nurse and social worker in the healthcare sector need to be competent as well as skillful on the healthcare practice needs of patients suffering from hypertension. Additionally, the nursing fraternity is at an advantage position to not only provide pertinent information on the progress of the patients but also deliver the best in terms of the much needed care which is usually long term. Shrewd nursing practice is expected to intervene in advance in the prompt detection and treatment of hypertension. Even as they provide basic clinical care to patients, nurses and other inter professional teams have the noble opportunity of interacting with hypertension patients through which they can offer the necessary education required to mange their conditions. One of the areas through which h patients can be educated is on the changing of lifestyles especially eating habits. In the course of carrying out these care services to patients, there are in evitable challenges and stumbling blocks which nurses and inter professional teams have to go through. However, they are perceived as professionals who are well equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills necessary in the intervention process of anti-hypertension (Oparil & Weber 2005). Furthermore, the nursing role in hypotension patient care can be extended to the advanced practices which go beyond the basic exercise of care giving to patients. The advanced approach will seek among other things, the public health concern not just to the affected patients but also to those who have not been diagnosed of hypertension but are at higher risk of developing the condition. This advanced nursing practice is embroiled in the wider spectrum of early detection and treatment of hypertension. Blood pressure is one of the parameters measured to ascertain the prevalence of a chronic condition. When the blood pressure is high above the expected standards, it depicts the likelihood of an ill-health condition. In most cases, high blood pressure is used to carry out early detection of some of the chronic conditions like cardiovascular diseases (Fenell & Baker 2005).

Since hypertension is a silent condition which cannot be physically identified, it is recommended that the same is monitored on a regular basis as part of early detection mechanism of some chronic conditions. An early treatment procedure for hypertension may include but not limited to proper diet, improved body exercise and in some cases medication. If high blood pressure is not treated in advance before it transcends to risky levels, it may lead to full blown chronic conditions like heart attack and stroke. As far as regular medical checks is recommended to monitor the onset of chronic conditions associated with high blood pressure, it is equally important to underscore the fact age is a major risk factor in the development of such chronic conditions. The prevalence of hypertension is directly proportional to age with those in their 70s accounting for more than fifty per cent of all the cases reported (Battegay, Lip & Bakris 2005). For this reason, the older generation should evenly be encouraged by the nursing staff through education to undergo medical screening from time to time because they stand a higher chance of developing the chronic conditions. Similar analysis of hypertension can be carried out by the professional team to determine other predisposing factors of hypertension. For instance, the significance of gender and whether it has any significant effect on the onset and progress of hypertension should be investigated in the advanced nursing practice. Another indispensable role of nurses and other professional medical teams is to work closely with patients in the determination of the most appropriate methods of advancing management practices of their conditions. In order to achieve this task, nurses have a variety of options which they can adopt as part of management models to the prevailing hypertension condition.

Conclusion

Hypertension is a real medical challenge facing many countries especially in the developed world and which needs to be addressed regularly and effectively. It is an epidemiologically notable health concern which requires the in valuable attention from both the governments and healthcare providers. Included in this provision is the role played by nurses in patient care after detection of the condition. Moreover, regular medical check-ups are highly recommended for all the high risky groups. The prevalence of hypertension is affected by quite a number of factors which include but not limited to age and dietary intake. Although a wealth of information on the risks of hypertension has been documented in literature, there is still a lot which is needed in terms of turning the ideas into actions. Through early intervention in the diagnosis of hypertension, a myriad of health benefits can be accrued besides alleviating the risk of heart related diseases and stroke. For this reason, the role played by nurses and other healthcare workers cannot be overlooked as they are significant in giving care to the affected population. Moreover, nurses who offer their services at an advanced level are well situated to give a quantitative treatment alternative.

References

Battegay E, Lip H.Y.G and Bakris L.G (2005). Hypertension: principles and practice. New York: Taylor and Francis Group.

Black R.H and Elliott J.W (2007). Hypertension: a companion to Braunwald’s heart disease. Philadelphia: Elsevier Inc.

Canlas P.L (2000). Hypertension: The Silent Killer. Philadelphia: Infinity Publishing.com.

Egan M.B, Basile N.J and Lackland T.D. (2004). Hypertension. Pennsylvania: Hanley and Belfus Inc.

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Fennell P.J and Baker H.A (2005). Hypertension: methods and protocols. New Jersey: Humana Press Inc.

Oparil S and Weber A.M (2005). Hypertension: a companion to Brenner and Rector’s the kidney. Pennsylvania: Elsevier Inc.

Royal College of Physicians (2006). Hypertension: Management in Adults in Primary Care: Pharmacological Update. London: Lavenham Press Ltd.

Weir R.M (2005). Hypertension. New York: American College of Physicians.