The Silent Killer


Why is High blood pressure noted as the "Silent Killer"? Because Hypertension (high blood pressure) is usually asymptomatic (without symptoms). Even being asymptomatic, hypertension damages the blood vessels and the heart.

Hypertension is cause by increase force of blood against the walls of the arteries. The narrower your blood vessels; the higher your blood pressure.

Symptoms of hypertension may be headache, shortness of breath, leg swelling, decrease urine frequency, or blurry vision. As you can see these symptoms are not specific to hypertension and doesn’t usually occur unless your blood pressure reaches a severe level.

Your blood pressure should be obtained during your clinic visit.

- Normal blood pressure – Systolic <120 mmHg and diastolic <80 mmHg

- Elevated blood pressure – Systolic 120 to 129 mmHg and diastolic <80 mmHg

- Stage 1 – Systolic 130 to 139 mmHg or diastolic 80 to 89 mmHg

- Stage 2 – Systolic at least 140 mmHg or diastolic at least 90 mmHg

- Hypertensive crisis Systolic higher than 180 and/or diastolic higher than 120

Risk factors:

  1. Race: Increase in African ancestry

  2. Age: The more birthdays you get high your risk of developing hypertension

  3. Smoking

  4. Excessive alcohol consumption

  5. Increase salt in diet

  6. Stress

  7. Physical inactivity

  8. Being overweight or obese

  9. Family History: Hypertension run in families; Twice as common in those who have one or more hypertensive parents

  10. Medical conditions: Sleep apnea, diabetes, and kidney disease

According to CDC,

  • About 75 million American adults (32%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 adults.

  • About 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertension—blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal—but not yet in the high blood pressure range.

  • Only about half (54%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.

  • High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 410,000 Americans in 2014—that’s more than 1,100 deaths each day.

Prevention

1. Maintaining a healthy weight. Losing 1kg (2.2 lbs) decreases your blood pressure by 1mmhg.

2. Monitor your blood pressure. Getting your blood pressure check during your clinic visit or purchase a blood pressure monitor at your local pharmacy.

3. Exercise. The more exercise you get the more it helps with your heart and blood vessels! Start with a 30 minute walk. The goal is to exercise about 150 minutes per week.

4. Incorporating healthy eating habits into your lifestyle. This includes vegetables, fruits, baked meats, and whole grains and limiting your intake of sugar, salt, and excess fats.

4. Limit your alcohol intake: Women can have no more than 1 drink a day and Men, no more than 2 drinks.

5. QUIT SMOKING: Smoking causes so many complications and hypertension included. Check with your doctor today to discuss ways to stop smoking.

6. Decrease your salt intake: In general, 2300mg of sodium (salt) is appropriate for daily intake and for some it maybe better to take in 1500mg.

Get your blood pressure checked today!

All the best!

Dr. A

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© 2017 Dr. Ashley Alphonse

Philippians 4:13