Hypertension Literature Review
Literature reviews for medical health research often focus on one particular condition or disease. Hypertension is a major concern world-wide and a literature review on high blood pressure and hypertension is an excellent topic for any nursing or medical student.
Hypertension is a chronic medical condition that leads to increased susceptibility to life-threatening diseases. Coronary heart disease and stroke, the number one and number two leading causes of death in the United States, are directly attributable to hypertension. As the incidence of heart disease and stroke begins to increase, finding viable methods for treating and curing the hypertension becomes imperative.
It can be effectively argued that hypertension is fast becoming a worldwide epidemic. Using criteria developed by the World Health Organization Paper Masters writers report that among South African men the incidence of hypertension had tripled in the past 5 years; for women the rate has almost doubled. Additionally, recent statistics in Canada indicate that 20 percent of all Canadian adults currently suffer from high blood pressure. Much analysis of statistical information regarding the proliferation of hypertension in the United States has been reported. The sum total of this data tell us that in the United States:
- Hypertension affects 23 to 60 million people.
- Approximately 90 percent of all hypertensives have high blood pressure of unknown etiology.
- Despite the fact that rates of morbidity and mortality associated with hypertension decreased in the years between 1972 and 1992, evidence suggests that they are on the rise again.
- In 1997, there were 79,102 new cases of end-stage renal disease reported; of which 25 percent are attributable to hypertension.
- In 1997 hypertension contributed to the deaths of 253,000 people, compared with 41,00 deaths from breast cancer.
A precursory overview of salient literature concerning the use of stress management as a means to control hypertension shows a wide variation in the use of the technique. In spite of the fact that there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that stress management can prevent hypertension, there is considerable evidence that it can reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Research has shown that single-component stress management techniques, such as meditation and relaxation techniques, are efficient in some patients. Marble (1996) reports that elderly African American patients utilizing transcendental mediation observed significant reduction in blood pressure. The average adjusted decrease in systolic pressure for men and women performing transcendental mediation were 12.7mmHg and 10.4mmHg respectively.
While it is true that science has afforded society different medications as a method of treatment for hypertension, the reality is that there are engendered problems with drug therapies; allergies, increased risk factors, non-compliance, etc. Because drug therapies are not always effective, researchers have begun looking more closely at hypertension and its root causes to determine, what if any, non-medicinal treatments can be effective for treating this disease.
In an attempt to find alternative methods for treating hypertension, researchers have begun study the effects of a myriad of non-medicinal hypertension treatments: exercise, dietary changes and stress management. Although the results are not conclusive, preliminary research indicates that these non-drug approaches to controlling hypertension may be having an impact. The worldwide prevalence and increase in hypertension coupled with the inherent problems of traditional drug therapies makes the search for reliable, non-medicinal hypertension treatment necessary.
The relationship of stress to hypertension has a significant history. As early as the 1930s an investigation into the effect of stress on physiological changes has been considered. Cannon’s work with the blood hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, suggested that stress that exceeded a critical threshold could stain a body beyond its adaptive limits. In addition it has been found that during long-term stimulation induced by stress, epinephrine and cortisone are both overproduced resulting in hypertension. Since relevant data shows a direct correlation between stress and hypertension, researchers began to consider stress management as non-drug treatment for hypertension.