According to the American Heart Association’s website one in three adults has high blood pressure but only 78.7 percent of them were aware of their condition.
The website went on to point out that even though many times the cause of hypertension isn’t known, it is easily detected and usually controllable. Note that they said easily detectable, that is if you go to a doctor or health clinic and have your blood pressure checked.
You could be one of the 73.6 million people in the United States age 20 and older that have high blood pressure. One of the most alarming and dangerous things about hypertension, is that initially there are often few or no symptoms. In fact, it can be difficult, if not impossible to know that you have it unless you make regular routine visits to your doctor. If you can’t make it to your doctor go to the health clinic in your neighborhood.
These visits are extremely important, because hypertension can lead to all types of very serious and life threatening complications. It can worsen diabetes sometimes, but even more commonly, can put you at risk of heart disease or stroke. Although I have heard conflicting reports, I believe that my father was in denial about his high blood pressure for years before it finally caught up to him, causing him a severe stroke. His stoke nearly crippled him and caused him to live in pain for the last ten years of his life. This is why you need to get your medical checkup. Because, even though it is dangerous, the common causes of hypertension are easily treated.
One of the most common causes is excessive salt consumption. Some people have high sensitivity to sodium (salt), and their blood pressure goes up when they use salt. When these people reduce their sodium intake it goes down. According to many experts, taking in too much salt is common among Americans. It is estimated that we consume 10 to 15 times more salt than we need.
Diets of fast and processed foods contain particularly high amounts of sodium. To reduce your sodium intake levels read labels carefully to find out how much sodium is contained in food items and then avoid those with high sodium levels. Although this is only one of the high blood pressure causes for certain salt sensitive people, it can’t hurt to decrease your salt consumption, and may help prevent your risk of heart attack.
Even more common among causes of hypertension is obesity. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m2. It is very closely related to high blood pressure. Obesity causes hypertension because it puts a strain on your circulatory system. This means that your heart has to work harder to pump blood, resulting in higher pressure in your veins and arteries.
Medical professionals strongly recommend that all obese people with high blood pressure lose weight until they are within 15% of their healthy body weight. This leads to the next cause, the lack of exercise. When you don’t do cardiovascular exercise your heart atrophies. This means that it needs to pump harder to circulate your blood. Using exercise to lose weight, you can treat both of these causes at once.
Be careful what drugs you put in your body. Certain drugs, such as amphetamines (stimulants), diet pills, and some pills used for cold and allergy symptoms, tend to raise blood pressure. Also, people that drink too much alcohol have a tendency to develop hypertension. For those that are sensitive to alcohol, drinking more than one to two drinks of alcohol per day tends to raise their blood pressure.
Some causes are not so easily treatable. For example, it appears that there is a genetic component, that make some people simply more prone. Along with this, there is a process called arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which can occur with age.
Diabetes, which can be treated through diet and exercise, but not necessarily completely eliminated, is another one of the causes which can’t completely be improved through conscientious treatment.
So the facts remain that you can reduce your chance of high blood pressure by getting your checkup, exercising, and eating right. Start today. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones.