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Check It And Manage It!

An estimated one in three adult Americans currently suffer from high blood pressure, medically known as hypertension. Of this number, about a third would be undiagnosed since high blood pressure does not usually have any symptoms. This nature of hypertension is why it has been dubbed “the silent killer”. High blood pressure can cause all sorts of health problems, but it usually goes undetected until it’s too late and has already caused complications. A complication will oftentimes be diagnosed before the hypertension.
Blood pressure is the amount of blood pumped and the amount of resistance from the arteries relative to the blood. The more blood the heart pumps into the body and the narrower the arteries are, the higher the blood pressure is. A blood pressure reading is composed of a fraction-like figure, the upper part being the systolic pressure and the lower part the diastolic pressure. The first number measures the pressure that the arteries apply while the heart is beating, while the second one measures the pressure between beats. A normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg, but doctors recommend to aim for 115/75 mm Hg. If a person has a systolic pressure ranging from 120-139 and a diastolic pressure of 90-99 mm HG, the he is considered to have pre-hypertension. If a person has 140-149 mm Hg systolic pressure and 90-99 diastolic pressure, then this is classified as a stage 1 hypertension. If his systolic pressure goes over 160 mm Hg, then he is considered to have stage 2 hypertension.

The more severe cases of hypertension will show symptoms like headaches, dizziness, fainting and nosebleed episodes. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to serious health concerns including heart attack and stroke, aneurysms (weakened and bulging blood vessels), heart failure, kidney problems, eye problems, metabolic problems and neurological and cognitive problems. It can also cause existing conditions like diabetes and heart disease to get worse, and can lead to complications and even death.

There are medications available to treat high blood pressure. These medications include thiazide diuretics or drugs that work on reducing blood volume to lessen pressure on blood vessels and arteries. Beta blockers are medications that allow the heart to beat slower and with less pressure, and these are usually taken along with thiazide diuretics. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (or more commonly known as ACE inhibitors) relaxes blood vessels by blocking the production of a naturally occurring chemical that causes blood vessels to contract. On the other hand, Angiotensin II receptor blockers work to block the action of the same chemicals. There are many other medicine and combinations that a doctor may prescribe, depending on the state of health of the patient.

It is also important to make some lifestyle changes in order to bring the blood pressure down in people diagnosed with hypertension. These include changes in diet, by eating more fruits and vegetables and cutting down on salt intake, regularly undertaking mild to moderate exercise, managing weight and quitting smoking.