High blood pressure is known as the silent killer, because you may have it at this very moment and never even know it. It can lead to a lengthy list of deadly diseases and illnesses if left untreated, but high blood pressure itself is pretty much a “symptomless” disease. So, just how important are those two little numbers that measure your blood pressure? The short answer: VERY IMPORTANT.
What causes high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, measures how much force is pushing against the walls of your arteries. There are two types of forces in play when it comes to blood pressure. One is what happens when blood pumps out of the heart and into the circulatory system arteries. The other happens when the heart rests between beats. When you have high blood pressure, your heart is working harder to pump blood throughout the body.
The following are causes of high blood pressure:
- Lack of exercise
- High sodium diets
- Too much alcohol
Are there symptoms for high blood pressure?
A lot of people think that if you have high blood pressure, you’ll know it by displaying nervousness, difficulty sleeping or flushing in your cheeks. Those are just a few of the myths about the symptoms of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is mostly symptomless, but seven out of every 10 people who have a heart attack also have high blood pressure. When it comes to strokes, about eight people out of every 10 who have them also suffer from high blood pressure. The only time you will likely experience symptoms of high blood pressure is when you are having a hypertensive crisis, at which time you might experience the following symptoms and need to seek medical treatment immediately:
- Severe headaches
- Severe anxiety
- Shortness of breath
How do you treat high blood pressure?
Did you know that 70 million Americans have high blood pressure, but only about 52 percent of them have it under control? Here are some things you can do to combat high blood pressure without medication:
- Lose weight
- Eat healthy foods
- Limit alcohol
- Consume less salt
- Quit smoking
- Reduce your caffeine intake
- Lead a less stressful life
- Check your blood pressure regularly
The most important thing you can do if you think you may suffer from high blood pressure is consult with your doctor for the best course of action. It may be medication or major lifestyle changes — or both. Either way, don’t hesitate to get checked out. Your life depends on it.