Hypertension — National Health Impact 12.5%
More commonly known as high blood pressure, hypertension is “a common disease in which blood flows through blood vessels, or arteries, at higher than normal pressures,” according to the National Institutes of Health. Hypertension occurs when the force against the artery walls is too high, which can cause heart attack or stroke. It can be associated with advanced age, obesity, smoking and stress. Hypertension is also known as the silent killer because it has no early significant symptoms but creates an extra load on the heart and blood vessels.
According to the CDC, high blood pressure can be affected by genetics.
One review states that a person’s chance of inheriting high blood pressure is roughly 30–50%. The review also notes that although researchers have isolated genes that control blood pressure, these gene variants accounted for only 2–3% of genetic variations in blood pressure.
The following environmental factors may influence a person’s blood pressure:
- Excessive salt intake: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommend that people consume no more than 2.4 grams (g) of sodium per day, which is about 1 teaspoon (tsp) of table salt per day.
- Low potassium intake: Potassium helps the body remove sodium. The AHA recommend a person consumes 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day.
- Weight: According to a comprehensive report by the American College of Cardiology and the AHA Task Force, people can expect to lower their blood pressure by around 1 mm Hgper 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight loss.
- Exercise: A 2015 study indicated that aerobic exercise could reduce blood pressure by 5–7 mm Hg.
Most of the time, high blood pressure has no symptoms. It is known as the silent killer.
Symptoms people may think are due to high blood pressure include:
- difficulty sleeping
- facial flushing
- blood spots in the eyes
However, these symptoms may not be due to high blood pressure, and anyone experiencing them should speak to a doctor as they may also be signs of other health conditions or side effects of medications.
People cannot rely on only physical symptoms to alert them of high blood pressure. To diagnose or monitor hypertension, a person should measure their blood pressure regularly.
A person can measure their blood pressure at home.
Blood pressure readings are in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The top number (systolic) indicates the pressure in the arteries as the heart beats. The lower number (diastolic) indicates the pressure as the heart rests between beats.
Since there is a strong connection between environmental factors and blood pressure, healthcare professionals have been promoting hypertension prevention.
The AHA recommend:
- eating a healthful diet low in salt
- limiting alcohol intake
- enjoying regular physical activity
- managing stress
- maintaining a healthy weight
- quitting tobacco smoking
A healthful diet for the heart consists of eating:
- whole grains
- low fat dairy products
- skinless poultry and fish
- nuts and legumes
- non-tropical vegetable oils
People who follow a healthful diet to prevent hypertension and cardiovascular disease should also avoid or limit:
- saturated and trans fats
- red meat
- sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages
People who eat well, stop smoking, lower their stress, and exercise regularly may see benefits in their general health.
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) may be beneficial in helping to prevent or treat high blood pressure.
Doctors and health professionals often refer to high blood pressure as a silent killer, and it is a risk factor associated with cardiovascular disease.
People who have high blood pressure may not experience any physical symptoms and may not be aware that their blood pressure is high.
During a hypertensive crisis, people with a blood pressure above 180/120 mm Hg may experience symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, blurry vision, headache, or nosebleed.
People experiencing a hypertensive crisis require emergency medical attention.
The most reliable way to detect high blood pressure is by regularly checking blood pressure measurements.
If you are concerned you may have high blood pressure T Off Your Health is here to create a treatment plan for you. To make an appointment call our office at 817-345-0303.
Information sited from Medical News Today (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327320.php#symptoms) and USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/sponsor-story/blue-cross-blue-shield-association/2018/10/24/these-top-10-health-conditions-affecting-americans/1674894002/)