Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)



Hypertension or high blood pressure is the leading cause of death in the world today. The bigger danger with hypertension is that the person suffering from this condition may not even realize that he or she is suffering from this condition until it may become too late.

Hypertension itself is a very dangerous condition; but it can cause drastic damage to the liver, brains, kidneys and the heart. The damage to these vital organs is the most important cause of death.


What is Hypertension?


Hypertension means high blood pressure. It is the condition when the pressure of the blood caused by the pumping of the heart goes much beyond normal values.

The human heart beat has two distinct phases – the systole when the heart is beating, and the diastole when the heart is at rest. During both the times, the heart exerts pressure on the blood. When you take a blood pressure reading, the doctor will use a device known as a sphygmomanometer tied around your arm. Then he or she will give you two readings. Out of these the higher reading is the pressure of your systole, while the lower reading is the pressure of the diastole.

The normal values of systolic and diastolic blood pressures are as follows:-

  • For systole, the normal blood pressure is 140.
  • For diastole, the normal blood pressure is 90.

So, if the person’s reading shows consistently over 140 systolic pressure and consistently over 90 diastolic pressure, then the person is suffering from hypertension.

Even before the actual hypertension sets in, there may be certain indications. If the person’s systolic pressure is in the range of 120 to 139 and if the diastolic pressure is looming between 80 and 89, then it is indicative of hypertension in the future. This warning condition is called as pre-hypertension. If care is taken during this stage, then it does not predispose to hypertension.

In Ayurveda , all the three doshas are considered responsible for rakta gata vata, i.e. hypertension. For the three different types of vitiation, there are different symptoms observed.


Types of Hypertension

Medical science recognizes two distinct types of hypertension – essential hypertension and malignant hypertension.

Essential hypertension occurs due to the increase in the systolic pressure of the heart as the age advances. This is a common condition found in most people who have crossed the middle age. This condition can be controlled with the proper precautions, and indeed, people with essential hypertension are known to live up to a ripe old age also. This is also called as primary hypertension.

Malignant hypertension occurs due to the disorders of any of the vital organs, such as the brain, the liver and the kidneys. Hormonal imbalances can also cause hypertension in some cases. These are very fatal and need to remedied urgently. This is also called as secondary hypertension.

Causes of Hypertension

Since hypertension can be caused by the vitiation of any of the three doshas, the causes can be different too. The following is a list of exacerbating factors of hypertension in the perspective of the three doshas.

  1. Hypertension caused due to vata dosha can be increased due to mental anxiety, tensions, stress and worries.
  2. Hypertension caused due to pitta dosha can be increased due to strong emotions such as anger, shock, hatred and jealousy.
  3. Hypertension caused due to kapha dosha can be increased due to malignant factors such as malfunctioning of the vital organs.




The causes of the medical types of hypertension, i.e. essential and malignant hypertension are as follows:-

Essential hypertension is mostly idiopathic, i.e. its cause is unknown. However the following factors are strong indicators of the disease:-

  1. Aging, due to which the systolic pressure of the heart increases
  2. Diet, such as one rich in fried and salty foods
  3. Hereditary factors

Malignant hypertension can be caused due to host of problems with the vital organs of brain, liver and the kidneys. Renal fibrosis, Cushing’s Syndrome, adrenal gland tumors, Wilm’s tumor are just some of the conditions that can cause hypertension. However the most prevalent causes are kidney problems such as renal failure, renal vascular obstruction or glomerulonephritis.

Hypertension Symptoms

People with high blood pressure have to suffer a lot of problematic symptoms. The following are some of the hypertension symptoms:

  1. The person will feel regular giddiness, dizziness and a feeling of instability.
  2. Palpitations are common.
  3. Hypertension sufferers are generally insomniacs, i.e. they cannot sleep well at night.
  4. Slight exertion can cause dyspnoea.

Even the digestive system may play truant and there may be regular constipation.

Complications of Hypertension

Hypertension can affect several regions of the body when the blood pressure becomes too high. The following are some of the complications:-

  1. Capillaries supplying blood to the retina of the eye are very narrow. Due to the high pressure, they can rupture, causing bleeding inside the eyes.
  2. In extreme cases the arteries supplying blood to the brain may also be hemorrhaged. Cerebral hemorrhage can lead to paralysis.
  3. High blood pressure is very commonly associated with myocardial infarctions, i.e. heart attacks.

Transmission of Hypertension

High blood pressure is an individualistic disorder. It cannot be transmitted from one person to another through contact or through any other agency. However, it is suspected that cases of high blood pressure do run in families.

Prevention and Basic Care during Hypertension

People with hypertension must take a lot of precautions, because any aggravation of the high blood pressure could be fatal to the patient. The following are the main precautions to be taken:-

  1. Stick to a dietary regimen. Read the following topic to see what kind of diet is beneficial.
  2. Take rest as much as possible. It is not advisable to keep up until late at night, or to rise up very early.
  3. Physical exercise can be performed to some extent – and it is also necessary to maintain the proper circulation of blood – but heavy exercise must be avoided.
  4. Mental stress must be avoided at all costs. It is good to devote time in meditation or yoga, which can keep the mind free from tensions. The patient might also consider relocating his or her residence to a place surrounded with natural calm and peace.

Diet for People with Hypertension

All the three doshas are responsible for the aggravation of blood pressure causing hypertension in the human body. Hence the diet to be taken must be a tridosha pacifying diet. The following dietary guidelines must be followed:-

The patient must not be given any hot and spicy food which will be difficult to digest.

Salt should be curtailed in the diet. Expert studies have found out salt to be the biggest culprit in people with high blood pressure problems.

Red meat must be avoided.

Chocolates and sweets must be kept as far away from the patient of hypertension as possible.

Hydrogenated oils must be totally eliminated from the diet. But ghee and butter prepared from cow’s milk can be given. Buffalo milk is to be avoided.

Carbohydrate-rich vegetables must be taken in order to facilitate easy movement of bowels. This will reduce constipation, which aggravates the vata. Useful vegetables for people with hypertension are bitter gourd and drumsticks. Colocasia and yellow pumpkin must be avoided.

Among fruits bananas, guavas, apples and oranges are considered to be beneficial.

Cereals and pulses must be reduced.

Dry fruits can be eaten without any harm.