Uncontrolled blood pressure has a lot of risks. High blood pressure or hypertension has been known as the silent killer because there are no symptoms associated with it in the majority of cases. The only way for a person to know whether they have high blood pressure is to have their blood pressure tested periodically at the doctor’s office – or even with a home machine.
According to the CDC, approximately 67 million Americans have high blood pressure, which is approximately 1 in 3 adults throughout the United States. When high blood pressure is left uncontrolled, it can lead to poor quality of life, a heart attack and even death.
The two primary risks of uncontrolled high blood pressure are that of stroke and heart attack. The American Heart Association has reported that the number one cause of a stroke is high blood pressure.
High blood pressure leads to damage within the arteries. Healthy arteries are elastic and strong. This allows blood to flow more freely and supply all of the tissues and organs the oxygen and nutrients that are required. Arteries are not going to remain this flexible with high blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic comments that arteries will begin to narrow and become damaged. The constant pressure can also lead to a bulge on the side of an artery, which is what an aneurysm is.
There is also damage to the heart, which can lead to an enlarged left heart and even heart failure. Damage to the brain can also occur, which can include a stroke or even a ministroke, also known as a transient ischemic attack.
Damage is not limited to these organs. There can also be damage to the kidneys, the eyes, and there may be sexual dysfunction as well. High blood pressure is not something that anyone should experience because it can affect so many aspects of one’s well-being.
It is simple to find out if one has high blood pressure. It is one of the basic vital signs checked at the doctor’s office. There are also machines that can be used at home. Many pharmacies also have units where a person can sit down and an automated process takes place once the arm is placed inside of the cuff.
As soon as a person learns that they have high blood pressure, they can take precautions to lower the health risks. There are various oral medications that can be taken so that the blood pressure is lowered. A doctor can run tests to determine if a blood pressure lowering medication can and should be used given a person’s overall medical history and outlook.
In addition to medication, a lifestyle change can be required. This includes quitting smoking, controlling cholesterol, adding exercise, and reducing sodium in the diet. All of these actions can help to control blood pressure, regulate blood sugar and prevent blood clots, thus leading to an overall higher level of health.
High blood pressure is the silent killer, but only if it goes uncontrolled.