Most of us are guilty of putting our health on the back burner. If we feel like eating junk food and sugar, we do it. If we feel like being lazy and sitting in bed all day, we do it. It’s not until a health issue arises that we try to break bad habits.
You should always take care of your health, especially if you already have a pre-existing condition like high blood pressure.
It’s the leading cause of death in the US. Hypertension takes the lives of 500,000 people each year, or more than 1,000 a day. This is why millions refer to it as the “hypertension silent killer.”
If you want to get your health under control, educate yourself about hypertension and why you should be monitoring it. Take a look at these three facts below to help you know why it’s so deadly.
1. Hypertension Has Many Risks and Complications
Family history increases your chances of hypertension. Adults 40 and up should watch for hypertension due of internal changes that alter the condition of their arteries.
Excessive salt and alcohol are other factors to watch out for. Excessive salt causes fluid retention in the body, and heavy drinking can impact normal organ function and impede normal blood flow.
Smoking narrows blood vessels and impairs blood flow to the heart and body. It’s best to quit if you’re a smoker.
Stress can also cause or worsen hypertension. Many studies found that blood vessels and blood flow are negatively affected by the release of stress hormones. The arteries contract, which contributes to hypertension.
Comorbid Factors Of Hypertension
There are also a variety of conditions associated with hypertension. When hypertension is uncontrolled, it can cause a stroke, heart failure, heart attack, or aneurysm.
Asides from the heart, hypertension can affect your eyes (vision) and your kidneys (kidney failure). Lack of blood flow to the brain can also cause issues with understanding and memory. Diabetes, dyslipidemia, and metabolic syndrome are also comorbidities that can occur.
2. About Half of Americans Have Hypertension
Detecting high blood pressure early by monitoring and making regular visits with your doctor can prevent the condition from severely affecting your health. Many people wonder, “why is hypertension known as the silent killer?” It’s because the condition often has no symptoms.
Nearly 50% of Americans have hypertension and this only counts for the 100 million people who have a diagnosis. Many more Americans are walking around with the condition, unaware they have it.
As the leading cause of death, you should take precautions and get regular check-ups. Even if you do not have hypertension now, you may develop the condition as you get older if not careful.
Believe it or not, the lifetime risk for getting hypertension is close to 90%. While this number is high, you can substantially reduce the probability simply by being more aware of your health.
Black Americans are more likely to get hypertension than any other group. When they do have it, it also tends to be a more severe form. Three in four black Americans get hypertension, with many of those getting the diagnosis early in life.
3. You Can Improve or Reverse Hypertension With a Healthy Lifestyle and Medication
As scary as hypertension is, the disease is something you can prevent and control so long as you follow a healthy lifestyle and take the right medication. There is no one diet to follow, but those who have hypertension or prehypertension can improve or reverse the condition by reducing their salt intake. This alone can help stabilize blood pressure and reduce water retention.
Changing Your Diet
The DASH diet is helpful because it limits sodium red meat, and sugar intake while focusing on eating more fruits and vegetables. You should also cut back on foods high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans-fat.
Another helpful idea to reduce sodium in your diet is to avoid processed and canned food. It’s better to cook your foods from scratch and season them with herbs for flavor.
Watching your fluid intake is also important with hypertension. If you drink too much fluid, this can make the condition worse by raising your blood pressure. You may notice you are drinking too much if you notice signs of water retention. Eating foods that promote the excretion of excess fluid or taking diuretics is the best solution and engaging in regular exercise.
Medication for Hypertension
However, the best way to monitor and treat hypertension in a more controlled way is by taking medication advised by your doctor. When you have hypertension, your physician will also prescribe diuretics and ACE inhibitors to reduce blood pressure.
ACE inhibitors do not work in the same way as a diuretic. It lowers blood pressure by blocking the enzyme responsible for constricting blood vessels. When you follow the right diet and get the right treatment, you can control hypertension.
Hypertension the Silent Killer or Life Saver?
Hypertension is a chronic condition you likely have to live with if you have it. When you don’t check your health, hypertension the silent killer is deadly. On the flip side, it may be the reality check you need when you receive the diagnosis. Sometimes, it takes having a condition to find the motivation to improve an unhealthy lifestyle, and turn your life around.
While life is not the same with hypertension, you can still live a full, meaningful, and life with it. You can learn how to live with hypertension. In many ways, the diagnosis saves the life of millions who wake up and learn to take better care of themselves.
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