Hypertension: A Silent Killer
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 billion people worldwide have high blood pressure (hypertension). The condition can lead to heart attacks, strokes and aneurysms. Hypertension is also known as the silent killer because it doesn’t show any symptoms at first. It’s important to know how to prevent hypertension so you can save your life and avoid unnecessary suffering.
What is hypertension?
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a condition in which the force of blood against the walls of your arteries is elevated.
In the United States, high blood pressure affects more than one-third of adults (about 76 million people). It’s a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The CDC estimates that more than 1,000 people die every day from these two leading causes of death.
High blood pressure can be silent because there are no symptoms until serious damage has been done to organs such as the heart or brain.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision or loss of vision in one eye (amaurosis)
- Palpitations, racing heart rate and high blood pressure (hypertension)
- Chest pain when exercising or at rest, shortness of breath with exertion, fatigue.
Blood pressure is measured using a sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff). A sphygmomanometer measures your blood pressure in both arms, at rest and after 5 minutes of rest. Your blood pressure should be taken on both sides of the body to determine if there is any difference between the two.
A sphygmomanometer consists of an inflatable cuff that is wrapped around your upper arm, a bulb syringe and gauge that measures the amount of air remaining in the cuff when it reaches 30 mm Hg (measured more accurately by other devices) or at least 200 mm Hg (inaccurate device). The gauge measures how much air has been injected into your arm as measured by mercury column displacement. It also indicates minimum systolic value reached during inflation based on sound produced by rubber bulb as it deflates.
Risk factors and causes
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. It’s one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attack and stroke if left untreated.
The risk factors and causes associated with hypertension include:
- High blood pressure in the family (genetic condition)
- High blood pressure during pregnancy (gestational)
- Obesity or overweight condition (body mass index)
- Increased salt intake
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about whether you should get tested for hypertension or high blood pressure.
- Heart disease. The most common complication of hypertension is heart disease, which can lead to heart failure, stroke and other problems.
- Stroke. High blood pressure causes dangerous clots to form in your arteries, which can cause a stroke if they break away from their point of origin and travel to the brain.
- Kidney disease. Kidney failure is one of the most serious complications of uncontrolled high blood pressure, as it can lead to organ damage and even death if left untreated for too long.
- Vision problems such as glaucoma or cataracts could occur when increased pressure damages optic nerve fibers that carry visual information from your eyes to your brain. This can result in blurry vision or loss of vision entirely if not treated immediately with prescription eye drops designed specifically for this condition (called “glaucoma medications”). These medications may also help prevent blindness because they decrease eye pressure levels over time by breaking down excess fluids inside them; however they do not cure glaucoma itself so they should never be used alone without addressing underlying causes first through lifestyle changes like losing weight if overweight/obesity-related conditions such as diabetes has been diagnosed alongside hypertension treatment options discussed later on this page.”
There’s no doubt that hypertension is a serious condition that requires treatment, but you can play a role in preventing it as well. A healthy lifestyle can go a long way in helping to prevent and manage hypertension.
- Eat a healthy diet. A diet high in sodium, saturated fat, and sugar can increase your blood pressure. Instead of giving into cravings for salty foods like chips or pretzels, snack on fruits (oranges are an excellent choice) instead. In addition to lowering blood pressure levels overall by lowering dietary sodium intake and increasing potassium intake (which helps to lower blood pressure), fruits provide vitamins C and E as well as other antioxidants that help fight against disease processes such as atherosclerosis.
- Exercise regularly! Starting an exercise routine doesn’t have to be difficult—even just walking around the block after work every day will help you maintain better health overall by reducing stress levels while boosting endorphin production so that you feel happier throughout the day!
- Get enough sleep! Not getting enough sleep at night can raise both cholesterol levels and blood pressure—and nobody wants either one of those things happening inside their body! Try getting 8-10 hours each night so that when morning rolls around again tomorrow morning don’t be surprised when everything feels great again!”
Hypertension can be prevented by making certain lifestyle changes.
- Reduce weight and manage your diet.
- Get regular exercise.
- Limit alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
- Manage any chronic conditions, such as diabetes, that you may have been diagnosed with.
Hypertension is a silent killer that affects millions of people, but it is also preventable. If you have symptoms of hypertension or are at risk, you should consult your doctor to discuss treatment options that will help manage your blood pressure and prevent complications.