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Understanding Hypertension: What You Need to Know

Updated: Apr 15

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Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a condition that affectsmillions of people worldwide. It's often referred to as a "silent killer" because it typically doesn't present noticeable symptoms until it has caused significant damage to the body. Hypertension isn’t always something you can feel.  Sometimes you have symptoms, and sometimes you find out after you have a significant health scare such as a stroke.  However, with awareness and proper management, hypertension can be controlled effectively to reduce the risk of serious health complications. 

Hypertension is considered a blood pressure of 130/80 on more than one occasion.  When checking blood pressure it is important to remember that you should be sitting, should have legs uncrossed, and be calm during the reading.  If you check after exercise or caffeine you may get a falsely high reading. 

Causes of Hypertension:

There are several causes to hypertension including: 

  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits: Poor diet, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking

  • Genetics: Family history plays a significant role in determining an individual's risk of developing hypertension.

  • Underlying health conditions: Conditions such as kidney disease, thyroid disorders, heart disease, and sleep apneaAge: 

  • AGe: Blood pressure tends to increase with age due to the natural aging process and changes in the elasticity of the arteries.

Risks Associated with Hypertension:

If left untreated, hypertension can lead to severe health complications, including:

  • Heart disease

  • Heart attack

  • Heart failure

  • Kidney damage

  • Vision loss

  • Stroke

  • Brain complications such as Dementia, or cognitive impairment. 

  • Sexual Dysfunction

The good news is that hypertension can often be effectively managed with lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medication. Here are some tips for managing hypertension:

  • - Healthy diet: Adopt a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. Limit your intake of sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars. 

  • - Regular exercise: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Exercise can help lower blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. Start slow and steady and work up to 30 minutes, any amount of execise even a slow walk is better than nothing. 

  • - Maintain a healthy weight: Losing even a small amount of weight can help lower blood pressure. Aim for a body mass index within the normal range.

  • - Limit alcohol and avoid smoking: Limit alcohol consumption to moderate levels (no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men) and avoid smoking altogether.

  • - Monitor your blood pressure: Regularly monitor your blood pressure at home and keep track of your readings. Work closely with your healthcare provider to adjust your treatment plan as needed.

  • - Take prescribed medications: If lifestyle changes alone aren't sufficient to control your blood pressure, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication to help lower it. Take your medications as directed and attend regular follow-up appointments.

Even though hypertension can be serious it doesn’t have to be scary.  Hypertnsion can be easily managed once diagnosed.  By adopting a healthy lifestyle, monitoring your blood pressure, and working closely with your healthcare provider, you can effectively manage hypertension and safeguard your long-term health. Remember, small changes can make a big difference when it comes to controlling high blood pressure. Take control of your health today!

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