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High Blood Pressure is Silent but Sometimes Deadly

Conditions > High Blood Pressure is Silent but Sometimes Deadly

High blood pressure is silent and often goes undetected. Many people have high blood pressure and don’t even know it. Hypertension is another name for high blood pressured. Having high blood pressure doesn’t mean you are tense or nervous or hyperactive. You might be calm, cool and collected and still have high blood pressure.

The best way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have it checked by a medical professional. Blood pressure tests are quick and painless.

You can have your blood pressure checked at any of the following locations:

• doctor’s office
• hospital clinic
• school
• nurse’s office
• company clinic
• health fair

Some pharmacies are even equipped with machines that will test a person’s blood pressure free.

Have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years if you don’t have any of the serious risk factors that might predispose you to high blood pressure. If you have prehypertension, or a family history of high blood pressure, ask your doctor how often you should have it checked.

The American Heart Association reports that one in four American adults have high blood pressure. Many of them don’t know it. Undetected and uncontrolled high blood pressure can result in some serious consequences including:

• stroke
• heart attack
• heart failure
• kidney failure

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood circulates through the body in order to feed vital organs and provide them with the oxygen they need. When the heart beats, it pumps blood to the arteries and creates pressure in them. According to the American Heart Association, pressure results from two forces:
1. force is created as blood pumps into the arteries and through the circulatory system
2. pressure is created as the arteries resist the blood flow

Health arteries are muscular and elastic. They stretch as the blood moves through them with the help of a pumping heart. How much the arteries stretch depends on how much force the blood exerts.

A normal heart beats 60 to 80 times per minute. Blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when the heart relaxes between beats. Nobody’s blood pressure stays the same all the time. In fact, it changes from minute to minute depending on your activity.

A healthy adult should have blood pressure of about 120/80 mm Hg. Blood pressure that stays between 120-139/80-89 is regarded as prehypertension and above this level (140/90 mm Hg or higher) is considered high.

When your blood pressure is reported to you, a health care provider might say your blood pressure is “one twenty over eighty.” The higher number is called the systolic number. It represents the pressure surging through your arteries when the heart is beating. The lower, diastolic, number represents the pressure when the heart is resting between beats.

It is unclear what causes most blood pressure to be high. When the cause is unknown, it is called essential or primary hypertension. Some known factors do lead to high blood pressure. As many as 95 percent of high blood pressure cases are considered primary. About 5-10 percent of high blood pressure cases are known as secondary hypertension.

Secondary hypertension causes include kidney abnormality, a structural abnormality of the aorta and narrowing of certain arteries.

Conditions > High Blood Pressure is Silent but Sometimes Deadly