The word “labile” means that which changes easily/quickly. Hypertension is a medical condition which refers to high blood pressure. When the two words are put together it means a condition where a person’s blood pressure changes quickly and frequently. Changes in the blood pressure levels are normal and occur throughout the day. Physical activity, intake of stimulants, diet, stress and other factors cause these blood pressure changes so as to help the body cope with changing needs and conditions. When there is labile hypertension, the changes in the blood pressure are greater and more frequent than normal.
Hypertension is a leading cause of cardiac events like heart attacks, strokes etc. While chronic hypertension – when the blood pressure is always above normal – is a major factor for these conditions to develop, the impact of labile hypertension should not be underestimated.
The most common symptoms of labile hypertension are:
- Ringing in the ears.
- Palpitations or sudden increase in heart rate.
- Dizzy spells.
- General weakness or lethargy.
In many cases, labile hypertension does not result in any noticeable symptoms and a patient may not be aware of the existence of the condition so it continues to develop in intensity until it results in major health issues. That is why regular checkups are so necessary.
Why Does It Occur?
There are many possible causes of labile hypertension. These include:
- Mental or emotional stress
- Situational anxiety – when waiting anxiously for some news such as the results of a medical test to determine if a disease exists.
- Emotional responses such as the sight of something that causes revulsion or horror.
- Age – blood pressure may drop after consuming a meal in some elderly persons .
- Excessive consumption of salt – the consumption of salt may result in an almost immediate spike in the blood pressure in person with labile hypertension
- Caffeine consumption, especially excessive intake of coffee, can cause blood pressure fluctuations.
- The consumption of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), either prescription or non-prescription, is a common cause of labile hypertension.
- There are other causes too, which vary from person to person, depending on individual physiology, genetic and environmental conditions, psychological conditions and so on.
Can It Be Prevented?
Blood pressure levels and fluctuations can normally be controlled through medication. Beyond this a person suffering from labile or any form of hypertension can do the following to reduce the extent and frequency of the fluctuations:
- Stop smoking.
- Control the intake of salt.
- Control the amount of caffeine consumed. It must be noted that coffee is not the only source of caffeine – it can be found in tea, soft drinks and other commonly ingested foods and liquids.
- Stop the consumption of alcohol.
- Practice stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, exercise, massage etc.
- Develop a regular daily routine and stick to it as much as is practical.
Labile hypertension should not be ignored and if it is diagnosed, the medications and lifestyle changes prescribed by the doctor must be followed to keep the condition under control.