Health Risks: How To Recognize High Blood Pressure


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Information about how to tell if you have high blood pressure and what to do if you have been told that you do.

Most medical ailments are noticeable after a symptom or two has alerted us. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as the “silent killer”, since it rarely displays any signs or symptoms. Not only is high blood pressure linked to many strokes, heart attacks and heart failures, it can also impair a person’s vision and leave them with kidney damage. High blood pressure currently has no cure, but can be controlled through diet and medication. Women should be especially concerned, since nearly half of all women over the age of 55 have high blood pressure, with women of African descent having the most common and most severe tendencies. Overall, 1 out of ever 4 Americans, male or female has high blood pressure. Out of every 5 cases of heart failure in women, 3 are related to high blood pressure.

Genetics and certain activities can heighten the risk of getting high blood pressure. Although genetics cannot be halted, there are other steps you can take to reduce your risk. One is to reduce your weight, if you are more than 30 pounds overweight. Another is to reduce your amount of salt intake. Drinking and smoking are also known to be factors in many high blood pressure cases.

As people become older, their blood pressure tends to increase, making the elderly one of the likeliest groups to have high blood pressure. High blood pressure can causing narrowing of the blood vessels, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. The overexertion of the heart can lead to stroke, heart failure and death.

Since high blood pressure has no true sign, the only way to really know if you have it is to have your blood pressure checked every year. Potassium is proven to have some connection in lowering blood pressure, so health workers strongly recommend that to prevent or lower high blood pressure, an average day should include at least 3500mg of potassium. Diet should include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, but avoid salty and fatty foods. Limit alcohol intake to under servings per day.

If you’re found to have high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s orders precisely and inform him of any other medications you are currently taking. If you’re pregnant, taking birth control pills, on estrogen or hormone replacement, have regular check ups which include a screening for high blood pressure.

For the most accurate blood pressure reading, don’t drink coffee for at least 30 minutes before having the test, sit still for 5 minutes before having the testing, empty your bladder before the screening and get 2 readings, then take the average between them. If medication is prescribed, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to take it the rest of your life. Sometimes the blood pressure can be lowered by changes in daily habits, or a combination of medications, but after keeping blood pressure down for some time, the physician could recommend that you stop the medication altogether. Continue to have yearly check ups to keep an eye on your blood pressure, even if it’s normal for now.

Written by Frances Wright

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