Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure and it is a very common condition that affects a large number of people in your community. In most cases there are no symptoms that are associated with hypertension and it will usually be picked up on a routine visit to the doctor. As it is a condition that does not have any symptoms it is often called the silent killer.
In America the guidelines on hypertension state that blood pressure that is below 120/80 mmHg is considered as normal. If your blood pressure is 120-139/80 to 89mmHg then you can be said to be in a state of pre-hypertension. If you have a reading that is above this then this is considered abnormal and you can be said to have hypertension. You can ask your doctor what your blood pressure reading is when you visit them and get them to explain what the numbers mean. In most cases your doctor will not say that you have hypertension after just one reading as often a single reading may give false results. You may need to have several reading done over a period of weeks to months. There is a phenomenon known as white coat hypertension whereby some people have an elevated blood pressure at the doctor as they are nervous. The reason that hypertension is an important condition to pick up on is because there are many conditions affecting the heart and lungs that you may be predisposed too if you have high blood pressure. Some of the more common conditions that you could suffer from as the result of hypertension are heart attack and stroke.
In the US there are studies that suggest that 29% of the population over the age of 18 years suffer from hypertension. Although this number seems incredibly high it may in fact be higher than this as many people will not have had this diagnosed due to the lack of symptoms.
Fortunately studies have shown that hypertension can be treated effectively once it has been diagnosed. By treating the hypertension it is more likely that you will not go on to suffer from any of the terrible conditions that hypertension can cause. Hypertension can over time damage your organs and cause them to go into failure. For this reason it is vital that you adhere to the treatment given to you by your doctor even if you do not feel unwell.
Recent studies have shown that patients with hypertension are best managed by not only taking pills but by modifying lifestyle factors that may have resulted in their blood pressure being high in the first place. Such things that may help include losing weight and maintaining or at least starting a healthy diet, giving up smoking, exercising frequently and keeping diabetes under strict control if this is a problem for you. The take home message here should really be that your blood pressure does not have to be high. There are things that you can do and people who can help. The effects of having high blood pressure on your body can be catastrophic and may end your life if you do nothing to prevent them. Please visit your doctor and have regular blood pressure checks and if you are prescribed medication then please take it even if you feel well.