What Every Florida First Responder Needs to Know About Hypertension
At Cavey and Barrett we represent many Florida First responder in thier workers’ compensation claims who have hypertension. What is hypertension?
Hypertension is a sustained elevation of the resting systolic blood pressure (140 mm Hg), diastolic blood pressure greater than 90 mm Hg or both. Hypertension with no known cause is called primary or essential hypertension.
Hypertension with an identified cause is called secondary hypertension. This is usually secondary to a renal disorder. Diagnosis of arterial hypertension is done by sphygmomanometry and treatment normally consists of lifestyle changes, diuretics, Bata blockers, ACE inhibitors, channel blockers and angiotensin II receptor blockers.
According to the Merck Manual, about 65 million people have hypertension. Only “70% of these people are aware they have hypertension and only 59% are treated. Only 34% of Americans have adequately controlled blood pressure.”
Primary hypertension is caused by multiple factors involved in causing the elevated high blood pressure. Heredity is a predisposing factor with the exact cause of primary hypertension is unknown. Environmental factors such as diet, obesity and stress seem to affect only genetically susceptible people.
Secondary hypertension can be caused by renal parenchymal disease, connective tissue disorder, renal vascular disease, Cushing’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism.
Hypertension can cause dizziness, flushed face, headaches, fatigue and nervousness. Severe hypertension can cause severe cardiovascular damage, neurological damage, renal and retinal symptoms.
Diagnosis is made based on multiple measurements of blood pressure, urinalysis, blood testing, ECG to detect target organ damage and cardiovascular risk factors.
The general treatment includes weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation, change in diet.
What are the drugs prescribed for hypertension?
Drugs your doctor may suggest include diuretics to reduce plasm volume and vascular resistence.
Bata blockers slow the heart rate and reduce myocardial contractility, reducing the blood pressure. They are particularly useful in patients who have angina but they can cause sleep disturbance, fatigue and lethargy and exacerbate depression.
Channel blockers reduce blood pressure since they are peripheral vasodilators.
ACE inhibitors reduce blood pressure by interfering with the conversion of angiotensin and inhibiting the degradation of bradykinin. This decreases the peripheral vascular resistance without causing tachycardia.
Adrenergic modifiers stimulate receptors in the brain stem and reduces symptomatic nervous activity lowering the blood pressure. They are less likely to cause drowsiness, lethargy, depression. Because they cause those symptoms, they are not widely used.
At Cavey and Barrett, we suggest you discuss all treatment recommendations with your doctor to find the one that works best for you!
Answering these broad-based questions isn’t easy. Help is a phone call away. You can contact Nancy Cavey, an experienced long-term disability attorney at 727-894-3188.