High Blood Pressure:  The "Silent" Killer

High Blood Pressure: The "Silent" Killer

According to the CDC, one in three adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure (hypertension), and of these who know they have it, only 52% have it under control.  It is often called the “silent killer” because it has no warning signs.  Blood pressure that is not properly controlled can cause devastating health affects including

  1. Damage to the small vessels in the brain, increasing the risk of a stroke
  2. Damage to the small vessels in the eye causing blindness
  3. Damage to the kidneys causing kidney failure
  4. Damage to the heart muscle, resulting in the heart attack or congestive heart failure (enlarged, failing heart)

Although some medical conditions (such as kidney disease) can cause high blood pressure, the majority of cases are due to lifestyle factors.  Too much of the following can be the cause:

  • A diet high in salt
    • being overweight

    • smoking

    • alcohol

    • not enough exercise

       

      So what can you do if you have high blood pressure?  Weight loss of just 5-10 percent is often helpful.  A balanced diet that is low in salt, high in fiber (fruits and vegetables) and limiting alcohol intake (2 drinks for men, 1 drink for women) can make the difference in your blood pressure and cholesterol.  Exercising 150 minutes a week is beneficial in ways beyond the blood pressure.  Exercise may help balance your mood and lead to better sleep, too.  You may break up the sessions to fit your schedule and needs.  Check with your healthcare provider first to see what exercise is safe and recommended based on your health history.  Lastly, if you smoke, ask your healthcare provider about ways to stop smoking. 

 

https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/6-high-blood-pressure-facts

http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/behavior.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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