How Leech therapy treats hypertension and helps to control BP (blood pressure).

Hypertension is a very strong risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). It is estimated that it increases the risk at least two-fold for CVDs including coronary artery disease (CAD), congestive heart failure (CHF)/stroke (ischaemic and haemorrhagic), renal failure and peripheral arterial disease. Other risk factors include diabetes which is also very commonly associated with hypertension. let’s see how to leech therapy used to treat hypertension and control BP (blood pressure).

Hypertension is present globally but its prevalence varies amongst countries and subpopulations. The prevalence of diabetes increases with growing age and it is estimated that starting from around 15% to 20% at in early age it increases to 75% to 80% in individuals above 70 years of age.

Hypertension can be defined as at present, hypertension in adults who are aged 18 years and older who are not presently ill, is defined as “systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or greater and/or diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or greater or any level of high blood pressure in patients who are taking antihypertensive medication for lowering the high blood pressure.

How Leech therapy helps to treat hypertension

Predisposing factor

A strong familial and genetic predisposition exists, and a number of modifiable predisposing factors have been identified.

  • Role of genetics
  • Age and sex
  • Weight gain
  • Increased salt intake
  • Alcohol intake
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Tobacco smoking

Causes for hypertension

In more than 95% of cases, a specific underlying cause of hypertension cannot be found. Such patients are said to have essential hypertension.

The pathogenesis of this is not clearly understood. Many factors which can contribute to the development of hypertension are

  • Renal dysfunction
  •  Peripheral resistance vessel tone
  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Autonomic tone
  •  Insulin resistance
  • Neurohumoral factors.

Hypertension is more common in some ethnic groups than others which are particularly seen in Black Americans and Japanese, and approximately 40–60% is responsible for genetic factors.

Important environmental factors which cause high blood pressure include a

  • High salt intake
  • Heavy consumption of alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Impaired intrauterine growth.

There is little evidence that ‘stress’ causes hypertension. In about 5% of cases, hypertension can be shown to be a consequence of a specific disease or abnormality leading to sodium retention and/or peripheral vasoconstriction.

Medical history

The medical history should include the following: –

  • Duration and level of elevated BP, symptoms of CAD, heart failure, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, and renal disease.
  • Symptoms of diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia, gout, sexual dysfunction or other co-morbid conditions.
  • Family history of high BP, premature CAD, stroke, dyslipidaemia and diabetes.
  • Symptoms suggesting secondary causes of hypertension.
  • Smoking or tobacco use, physical activity, dietary assessment including intake of sodium, alcohol, saturated fat and caffeine.
  • Use of all prescribed and over-the-counter medications which may raise BP or interfere with the effectiveness of antihypertensive drugs.
  • History of oral contraceptive use and hypertension during pregnancy.
  • History of previous antihypertensive therapy, including adverse effects, experienced.
  • Psychosocial and environmental factors.

Clinical features to diagnose hypertension.

Hypertension is largely asymptomatic and is often diagnosed on routine examination.

Early morning headache often localized to the occipital region as a symptom is usually a feature of severe hypertension. Other symptoms, though uncommon, maybe dizziness, fatigue, and palpitation.

 In addition, symptoms related to organ damage involving the heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes may be present in severe hypertension.

Complications due to hypertension

If blood pressure is uncontrolled following complications are seen: –

  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Heart failure
  • Narrowed and weakened blood vessels in the kidney
  • Narrowed, thickened or torn blood vessels in the eye
  • Difficult in understanding and weak memory
  • Dementia

Treatment

The primary goal for the treatment of hypertension is effective to control BP to prevent, reverse or delay the progression of complications, and thus, reduce the overall risk of an individual without affecting the quality of life.

The objective of treatment for hypertension also includes reducing the incidence of adverse cardiovascular events, particularly coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure.

Leech therapy for hypertension

Hypertension has become a major health issue that affects millions of people globally. With the advancement of hypertension, many of the people are now suffering from the complication of hypertension such as heart attack, strokes, kidney damage, and atherosclerosis.

Few of the patients remain asymptomatic while many of the patients show the symptoms of hypertension like headache, pain in the chest flashing grid and dimness of vision. Leech therapy is used in the treatment for hypertension for a long time and traditionally. Treating hypertension with leech therapy does not produce various side effects which are produced while taking treatment in modern medicine.

Need for therapy to reduce hypertension

Leech therapy is also known as hirudotherapy. This therapy is used in the Unani method for treating hypertension.  According to the Unani method of treatment, this method is based on two principle- Tanqiyae mawad which means evacuation of morbid humour and Imalae mawad which means the diversion of humor.

In Tanqiyae mawad, the resolution and excretion of morbid humor are done removal of excess fluid from the body. This helps in maintaining the normal homoeostasis in the body in both the quantity and quality of four body humours. These humours are responsible for maintaining normal health in the person.

In Imalae mawad, the diversion of morbid fluid is done from the site of an affected organ to the site from where it can be removed from the body tissue easily.

The procedure of leech therapy for hypertension

Leech used for this therapy is collected one prior to the treatment day for their use. A patient who is undergoing this therapy is advised to have semi-solid food before the procedure. Now the affected part of the patient is washed properly with distilled water or it can be washed with the solution of borax and that part is rubbed until the skin over the part becomes red.

The leech is applied on the part, if the leech is not attaching on the part than a small droplet of blood is taken out with the help of a sterile needle which will help to attach the leech properly and easily.

In this method usually, one or more leech is applied on the affected part which is then left for about one hour.

Once the leech is attached the bite area should be monitor carefully so that leech should not be separated until the leech is fully distended.

Once the leech is distended fully, it should be removed by pulling it carefully or with the help of table salt or it can be removed putting borax on the mouth of the leech. Most of the time leech gets detached itself when they are full.

Benefits and side effects of leech therapy for hypertension

Here are the benefits and side effects of leech therapy for hypertension.

Benefits leech therapy for hypertension

  • Therapy restores the normal blood flow in the organ.
  • Therapy decreases the thrombolytic activity in the body.
  • Leech therapy act as anti-inflammatory and reduces inflammation.
  • Leech therapy has a lipotropic activity which helps in the removal and prevention of fatty deposits in arteries. Thus the patient chance for developing arteriosclerosis is reduced.
  • It inhibits blood coagulation.
  • Histamine present in the saliva of leech helps in the dilatation of the blood vessels.
  • Hayaluronidase present in the saliva of leech helps in clearing the path for the active and helps in the penetration of active substances.

Side-effects leech therapy for hypertension

  • During leech therapy, the patient can have pain in the bite area.
  • The patient can have local itching the leech bite area.
  • A patient can have severe bleeding due to which the patient can suffer from anaemia and weakness.
  • A patient can have hypotension.
  • The patient can have a vasovagal attack.
  • The patient can have infection over the bite area due to the presence of bacteria in the leech.
  • There can be chances of having sepsis.
  • There are chances of transmission of infectious disease.
  • The patient can have a fever.
  • Scarring in the bite area is present.

Hypertension is now day mostly seen in the people who are having a modernized lifestyle. Patients who are in the borderline need to correct their lifestyle which can make their blood pressure normal. If the blood pressure remains high for which doctors advise taking antihypertensive drugs which are not safe if taken regularly.

For this patient who is having high blood pressure, leech therapy for hypertension works well by restoring the normal health of the patient through prophylactic action.

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