New Screening Technology shows damage caused by undetected high blood pressure

Hypertension, more commonly known as High Blood Pressure, is a condition which, if left untreated over time, can lead to the development of some very serious health conditions.  Increased risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease and kidney damage are amongst the most devastating of these conditions…

However one of the issues with hypertension is that it doesn’t present with any obvious visible signals or symptoms, especially in the pre-hypertension stages. So it is possible for someone to be developing the condition, and be absolutely oblivious of what is going on.  

And if you are otherwise in good health, not accustomed to going for annual check-ups and never self-monitor you blood pressure, then the condition may go undiagnosed for months, even years … yet the underlying damage is still being done! Little wonder why high blood pressure is called a “silent killer!!”


Important New Screening Tool!

Thanks to the advances in medical diagnostic technology there is now a form of imaging which can detect small changes in the brain which are signs of damage caused by high blood pressure.  And these changes can be detected a long time in advance of any other of symptoms of high blood pressure ever becoming apparent.
 

It’s called Diffusion Tensor Imaging or DTI for short

So let’s have a quick look at how this works.  The DTI is actually an enhanced form of MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging which has been around for general diagnostic purposes since the 1980’s.  The difference between the common or garden MRI and the new DTI is that the former is used to examine the structure of tissue in the body by  “using strong magnetic fields, electric field gradients, and radio waves to produce images of the organs in the body.” (Wikipedia)

However whilst it depicts the structure of an organ or tissue, an MRI alone cannot actually highlight faults in the functioning of the structure of the organ or other tissues being imaged.

And this is where the Diffusion Tensor Imaging comes in…  Not only can it detect changes in the functioning of an organ, say for example the brain, but also the decrease in its functioning capacity, caused in this case by high blood pressure (HBP).


Study shows importance of DTI screening

The results of a study published by the American Heart Association which had been conducted by Researchers at the Neuromed Institute at Sapienza University in Rome indicated that in test subjects with high blood pressure, the DTI scans showed clear signs of nerve fibre damage.

Such damage would, according to the Researchers,  affect non-verbal ability, control of emotions, decision-making, the ability to concentrate and attention to task.  As senior study author Daniela Carnevale commented:

“DTI provides a way to evaluate pre-symptomatic brain damage in people with high blood pressure in order to identify possible therapies to help control brain damage”

Moving forward

Whilst this is relatively new technology – and it will need further tweaking and fine-tuning to avoid possible false outcomes –  its implications for helping to diagnose silent damage going on it the body due to elevated blood pressure levels are significant for a number of reasons, as indicated below:

  1. By removing the common belief by many people who think that because they are not suffering from any visible complications of HBP, then there must not be any – period!
  2. By bringing home the reality that even people on medications for HBP are not immune from some of the damage being caused by their condition, especially in the brain.
  3. The importance of getting to grips early with the underlying causes of HBP and ideally making changes in lifestyle where possible to avoid future long term health risks of HBP

Final Thoughts

I am always excited to come across new developments in the technology which can help us with early detection of damage being caused to our bodies by a particular health issue.

Here the use of Diffusion Tensor Imaging – as the technology becomes more and more efficient – is clearly going to be a great boon in the early detection of damage caused by high blood pressure –  before other more obvious symptoms surface.

Damage to the brain in particular is, of course, of great concern because once it occurs there is no reversing it.  This DFI diagnostic tool will also help Doctors recognize possible changes in the brain which may eventually lead to the onset of such neurological diseases as Alzheimers and Dementia.  And the earlier the detection, the better the chance of treatment and prevention!

Unless high blood pressure is not of the primary, or essential, type, i.e. it is a secondary condition to another disease process, I truly believe that its causes can be dealt with using a variety of natural approaches. 

… And the best place to start is by looking at 


Any thoughts and comments on today’s topic?  Please feel free to keep the conversation going below…

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