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What is High Blood Pressure - Hypertension?

High blood pressure is a strong risk factor for developing heart disease and kidney failure. It is often called the silent killer because it usually has no symptoms until your body is already damaged. Blood pressure measurement is made up of two numbers; Systolic blood pressure and Diastolic pressure. Having high blood pressure tests the limits of your entire cardiovascular system, as it can beat the hell out of your heart, damage your blood vessels, and whack your kidneys. High blood pressure claims the lives of more than 60,000 people in the United States. It is one of the most difficult and complex diseases for doctors to treat. 

Afro-Americans in the U.S. are almost twice as likely to develop this condition. It is important to note that being overweight and eating lots of salt is taboo while having this condition. Your Systolic pressure should be 120 or lower, while the Diastolic should be less than 80 mmHg. The three main causes of high blood pressure are atherosclerosis [stiffened and narrowed blood vessels], chronic high salt intake, leading to increased sympathetic and vascular tone, and chronic inflammation that damages the endothelial lining, causing constriction and decreased elasticity.                                         

Here are some common prescription drugs used for treating hypertension:                                                                                            

Brand Name              Generic Name                                  

Dyazide                         hydrochlorothiazide                                       

Lopressor                    metoprolol                                                     

Tenormin                      atenolol                                                         

Inderal                           propranolol hydrochloride                   

Vastoec                         enalapril maleate                                    

Capoten                       catopril                                                          

Zestril,prinivil            lisinopril                                                    

Procardia xl                 nifedipine                                                  

Calan sr calan

Isoptin,sr verelan      verapamil hydrochloride                   

Cardizem                      diltiazem hydrochloride                         

Hytrin                            terazosin hydrochloride                         

Minipress                     prazosin hydrochloride                            

Aldomet                         methyldopa                                            

What is Thyroid Disease?                                                       

Thyroid disease, characterized by an underactive thyroid called hypothyroidism, is a condition that affects some 6 to 7 million Americans. It involves the production of less thyroid hormone than the body needs. In the U.S., hypothyroidism is most often caused by Hashimoto’s disease, in which the immune system inexplicably produces antibodies that destroy the thyroid gland as if it were a foreign tissue. As the damaged thyroid gland produces less hormone, the pituitary gland secretes more thyroid-stimulating hormone to encourage the thyroid to work harder. This increased demand may cause the gland to enlarge. Symptoms include tiredness, loss of interest in life, forgetfulness, dryer and coarser hair, dry skin, weight gain, slow heartbeat, heavy menstrual periods, constipation, dry skin, and puffy face and eyes. 

This disease affects approximately a million Americans, again mostly women. Another form of thyroid disease is hyperthyroidism, which usually results from the over-stimulation of the thyroid gland, causing it to produce too much hormone. The most common form of hyperthyroidism is graves disease, and if left untreated, either condition can adversely affect every body organ and system. Properly treated thyroid patients can lead normal active lives, so the earlier treatment starts the better the chance of preventing complications. {tsh} tests now allow doctors to identify thyroid disease earlier than ever before. Screening should be done once a year, especially for older women. 

The Pancreas                                                          

The pancreas is known to perform two essential functions, first, it produces pancreatic juice, which contains enzymes that help in the digestion of fats and other nutrients. Second, the specialized cells within the pancreas produce insulin and glucagon, hormones that are needed to metabolize glucose {blood sugar}. This effect ensues in areas throughout the pancreas, called the islets of Langerhans, which contain two types of hormone-producing cells, including alpha cells that produce glucagon, and beta cells, which make insulin. The pancreas contains small tubes or ducts that empty pancreatic juices. The pancreas is often likened to a fuel pump. Glucose is the body’s major fuel, but for the body to burn {or metabolize} glucose, it needs insulin. The body cannot metabolize carbohydrates, which is its major source of glucose. Hence, when the body begins to run short of fuel, signals are sent to the pancreas to release glucagon, which signals the liver to release its stored glucose.             


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