Although hypertension is one of the most prevalent of all disorders in the United States, it does not affect nor impact the family of a person with this disorder as much as other diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's and other disorders associated with the central nervous system. Overall, hypertension does affect a person's family in one important way, being the build-up of stress within the family unit which then impacts the person with hypertension, making him/her more prone to a heart attack, a stroke or higher levels of blood pressure which can lead to an entire host of related life-threatening disorders.
For example, a family member with hypertension might be faced with a number of family-related problems which only increase the symptoms of the disorder, such as constant worry about a son's or daughter's conduct at school or their activities which tend to increase stress levels at home. Also, a family member with hypertension might face certain situations related to having to make important family decisions which could create "mood swings, anger and a good amount of anxiety" (Forman, J.P., Stampfer, M.J., 2008, p. 407), therefore affecting blood pressure.
ADAPTING & COPING:
Thus, in order to lower the stress within a family unit, the affected person and his/her family members should utilize some type of stress management, a method that requires "response or change within a person by identifying the stressors, eliminating negative stressors" and developing effective coping mechanisms to counteract responses to stress in a constructive way
(Schoenthaler, a., Ravenell, J., 2007, p. 398). Obviously, all family members, along with the affected person, would have to adhere to a stress-lowering plan by lowering the amount of demands placed upon the affected person.
A major concern in caring for those individuals who suffer from hypertension or have experienced a hypertension crisis is observing and reporting any signs of hypotension, being "an abnormal condition in which the blood pressure is not adequate for normal perfusion and oxgenation of the body tissues" (Wright, J.M., 2009, p. 1472).
In preparation for discharge from a hospital or clinic, the attending nurse must advise the affected person with hypertension how to recognize the symptoms of any dramatic increase or decrease in blood pressure, how to adhere to prescribed diets and medication and most importantly, how to avoid fatigue, heavy lifting, smoking and stressful situations within and outside the family unit (Wright, J.M., 2009, p. 1473).
This type of nursing intervention, however, would only be necessary if the affected person had experienced a hypertension crisis, being a "sudden and severe increase in blood pressure to a level exceeding 200/120 mm Hg which occurs most frequently in untreated hypertension and in patients who have ceased taking their medication for various reasons. If such a person visits the hospital or a clinic, the attending nurse must be aware of the characteristics associated with this serious condition, such as severe headaches, vertigo, tinnitus (i.e., ringing in the ears), a narrowed pulse pressure, nausea and vomiting. If these symptoms are recognized, the nurse should immediately place the affected person on a cardiac monitor in bed with the head elevated and in a quiet environment (Chummun, H., 2009, p. 788).
Appel, L.J. (2009). Another major role for dietary sodium reduction: Improving blood pressure control in patients with resistant hypertension. Hypertension, 54(3), 444-446.
Baggish, a.L., Weiner, R.B., et al. (2009). Impact of family hypertension history on exercise-induced cardiac remodeling. American Journal of Cardiology, 104(1), 101-106.
Chummun, H. (2009). Hypertension: A contemporary approach to nursing care. British Journal of Nursing, 18(13), 784-789.
Forman, J.P., Stampfer, M.J., et al. (2008). Diet and lifestyle risk factors associated with incident hypertension in women. Journal of the American Medical Association, 302(4), 401-411.
Humbert, M., Saggan, R., et al. (2009). Pulmonary hypertension. Seminars in Respiratory
and Critical Care Medicine, (4), 367-369.
Lhotta, K., Janecke, a.R., et al. (2009). A large family with a gain-of-function mutation predisposing to atypical hypertension. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, (8), 1356-1362.
Masterson, K.L., et al. (2007). Hypertension and its effects on the family. Journal of the American Health Organization, (45), 345-356.
Schoenthaler, a., Ravenell, J., et al. (2007). Lifestyle changes and blood pressure control: A community-based cross-sectional survey. Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 11(7), 391-399.