High blood pressure does not involve pain and is usually controlled by drugs, hypertensive people prefer to pop the pill and forget about their sickness rather than spend one hour on yoga, they do not seem like to realise how these drugs are damaging their system. These medicines are known to have the following effects.
These medications cause the body to produce more urine and evacuate sodium, leading to a drop in blood pressure. Side effects of these drugs may include hypotension (low blood pressure), weakness, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, constipation, and potassium depletion-which in turn can lead to cardiac arrhythmia. Diuretics may have an opposing effect on sugar metabolism and raise the blood sugar level. The uric acid level may also go up, leading to gout and arthritis. One type of diuretic is even known to increase blood cholesterol. From time to time it causes hypertonia due to potassium loss.
These drugs suppress the sympathetic nervous system whose job is to gear-up the body parts to work—thus reducing the heart rate. At the same time these lessen the force with which the heart muscle contract and reduce blood vessel contraction in the heart, brain and thoughtout the body. While the slow pulse rate effectively reduces blood pressure, it also reduces circulation to outlying body tissues and cause unfamiliar tiredness, sensitivity to cold and sunlight and hurt exercise tolerance. Beta blockers also aggravate asthma.
This drug is related to dopamine and hence can cause sleepiness and depression. It can also damage the liver.
· PERIPHERAL VASODILATORS
These drugs dilate blood vessels and can lead to hypotension and fainting.
It inhibits the hypothalamic and other brain centres blocking the transmission of instincts from the brain to the blood vessels with the result that major resistance and blood pressure drop. Side effects can lead to reduced mental functioning and nervous system disorder.
Though the drugs are harmful, it may be necessary to take them initially as leaving the ailment uncontrolled can be dangerous. Once a gentlemen had come to me treat his high blood pressure. To motivate him to continue with his practise regularly, I had told him that ill effects of the anti-hypertensive drugs were worse than ailment itself. Years later, he brought his young son who had very high blood pressure and proudly announced that he did not allow his son to take the medication! Fortunately the body’s ailment was at an early stage and did not do any harm.
As high blood pressure decreases blood flows to body tissues, but if left untreated it can lead to serious and irreversible conditions such as:
· Brain damage
Serious problems that can develop due to weakening of brain tissues are encephalopathy and Alzheimer’s disease. According to a study in Finland, people with hypertension and high level of cholesterol have nearly eight times the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease than those with normal levels. At a milder level, high blood pressure can lead to loss of memory and concentration.
· Kidney damage
The kidneys are important organs, which are brought with one fifth of the total volume of blood pumped bye the heart. When these vital organs do not receive the usual amount they react aggressively by releasing an enzyme called rennin, which causes the blood vessels to contract to force the heart to pump harder. The blood pressure rises leading to further decrease in the blood supply to the kidney’s, which in turn results in more rennin secretion. A vicious cycle is thus formed leading to the gradual failure of these vital organs. When the kidney’s do not function well the balance of salts, acids and water goes haywire and toxins pile up, which invariably causes death.
· Eye problem
With less blood supply, the faint optic nerves and powers start degenerating, leading to blurring, double vision and gradual or sudden loss of eyesight.
· Blood vessel damage
The constant high pressure against the walls of the blood vessels causes them to stiffen. As a protective reaction, these vessels start stiffening resulting in arteriosclerosis, a condition where the blood vessels are rigid and brittle and are prone to rupture.
Small scars look in the inner walls of blood vessels. These injuries are covered with plaque making the arteries thicker and stiffer, resulting in more injuries. Gradually the passage becomes narrow and these narrowed arteries not only restrict blood flow to important body parts but a plaque can get dislodged and block the passage cutting off the blood supply completely by resulting in heart attack.
A solidified artery can breach in the brain causing a stroke. A blood clot or a piece of plaque can also cause a stroke by blocking an artery supplying blood to the brain.
· Heart damage
The inflexible arteries exert a tremendous pressure on the heart. To keep up with the ever-increasing load, the heart increases in size, which may make its muscle rigid. This losses the efficiency of the heart. Blood is not circulated well enough, causing fluid build-up in various parts of the body including the lungs. To clear the congestion, the heart struggles harder, which may result in a heart failure due to sheer exhaustion.
All these damages can be prevented if yoga is taken up early enough.
After stabilising the pressure over a period of few months, the following yogic cleansing technique be practiced to remove the harmful chemicals of the anti-hypertension drugs remove the dangerous chemicals of the anti-hypertension drugs from the body.