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Blood Pressure Awareness Behavior Cardio-Vascular

High Blood Pressure Is A Silent Killer

3 weeks, 5 days ago

1687  0
Posted on Jun 25, 2024, 4 p.m.

High blood pressure is a silent killer. Unfortunately, nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. This translates to roughly 122 million people aged 20 years old and over having hypertension. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, and other health threats.

Can I control my blood pressure without medication?

High blood pressure is both preventable and treatable. Lifestyle changes can help to lower blood pressure, but some people may need to take medication(s). However, controlling blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle may prevent, delay, or even reduce the need for medication. Diet, exercise, weight, stress, sleep, smoking, and alcohol are all modifiable lifestyle factors that can contribute to high blood pressure. 

Modifiable lifestyle factors

Diet: Adhering to a diet that is low in salt, sugar, and saturated fats while being high in potassium can help to keep blood pressure levels under control. The heart-friendly DASH eating plan was designed specifically to help lower blood pressure (and lose weight).

Exercise: Regular physical activity can help to lower blood pressure (and lose weight).

Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight can help to keep blood pressure levels under control.

Sleep: Sleep deprivation can contribute to increasing the risk of high blood pressure.

Stress: High levels of stress can affect blood pressure levels due to the release of a surge of hormones which cause the heart to beat faster and blood vessels to narrow.

Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can have acute and chronic effects on blood pressure. The more you drink, the higher the risks are for developing hypertension. 

Smoking: Smoking causes an immediate increase in blood pressure, and chronic smoking can affect arterial stiffness which has a great impact on central blood pressure. It also causes arteries to narrow, harden their walls, and make blood more likely to clot, increasing heart stress. 

Salt: While the effect of sodium varies among people, even a small reduction of salt in the diet can improve heart health and reduce high blood pressure. Salt causes the body to retain fluids which increases blood volume and blood pressure. The majority of salt in diets comes from packaged and takeout/restaurant foods, according to the CDC. 

The importance of keeping blood pressure under control

Once blood pressure rises above normal, subtle but harmful brain changes begin to occur rather quickly, and these changes can be hard to reverse even if blood pressure returns to normal. High blood pressure is a chronic condition that can increase the risk of many serious health conditions such as heart failure, dementia, stroke, kidney failure, peripheral artery disease, aortic aneurysms, and coronary artery disease. 

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can be fatal, W.H.O. estimates that this silent killer causes 7.5 million global deaths annually, representing around 12% of all deaths. In America, data from the CDC suggests that hypertension was a primary cause or contributing cause to close to 700,000 deaths in 2021. Nearly 1 in 2 adults (108 million) in America have high blood pressure, and only 1 in 4 have their condition under control. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. Additionally, it is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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