High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is a Silent Killer

Written on March 20, 2009 – 4:08 am | by Newsman |

High blood pressure or hypertension means that your heart has to pump harder in order to circulate blood through your body. This will put your arteries under greater pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a major risk for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease, especially when combined with obesity, smoking, excessive drinking, high cholesterol or diabetes.

Hypertension is often called the “silent killer” because it usually has no symptoms. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. The recommended level is less than 120/80 mm Hg. A consistent reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is considered hypertension, while 120 – 139/ 80 – 89 mm Hg indicates pre-hypertension.

You are at risk if:

  • you are obese
  • drinks excessively
  • lacks physical activity
  • stressed out
  • smoker
  • you have a family history of hypertension
  • men between ages 35 to 55; women are more likely to develop it after menopause

There is no cure for hypertension but you can control it. For pre-hypertension, your doctor might recommend that you lose weight, increase your physical activity, follow a heart-healthy diet that is low in sodium, limit alcohol intake, quit smoking and reduce stress. Medications will be prescribed if your blood pressure is above 140/90 mm Hg in addition to the above mentioned pre-hypertension options.

When taking oral contraceptives, women must know that they are linked to hypertension in some women, especially those who are overweight or have mild kidney problem, positive family history of hypertension or a personal history of hypertension during pregnancy. Consult your doctor before starting on the Pill.

During pregnancy, women with pre-existing hypertension are more likely to develop complications than those with normal blood pressure. High blood pressure can also develop during the last trimester in women with otherwise normal blood pressure. Consult your doctor about treatment options if hypertension still remains after delivery.

After menopause, women increase their risk of developing hypertension even if their blood pressure has been normal throughout their life.

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