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High Blood Pressure, The Silent Killer

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?



Dear Worrying,

The problem with high blood pressure is often there are no symptoms until the high blood pressure leads to problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack, or kidney disease

The American Heart Association ( estimates that one-third of adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure but do not know it. High blood pressure is also called the silent killer and this is why blood pressure must be checked. Adult high blood pressure is defined as equal to or greater than 140 mm Hg systolic pressure or greater than or equal to 90 mm Hg diastolic pressure (AHA, 2008).

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential. Your physician can measure your blood pressure (blood flow resistance) to see if you have high blood pressure (hypertension). If so, there are medications to help lower your blood pressure. Lifestyle changes can also help lower blood pressure such as eating properly and maintaining a healthy weight.

There is no cure for high blood pressure, but it can be controlled.

TREATMENT OF HYPERTENSION (high blood pressure)

1. Medication. Work closely with your doctor to find the medication that works best for you with the least side effects.

2. Eat healthy foods. Limit salty and fatty foods.

3. Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes several times a week.

4. Limit alcohol consumption.

5. Stop smoking.

6. Keep a healthy weight. Lose weight if overweight.

7. Monitor your own blood pressure. You can measure your blood pressure at home and keep a record to show your doctor.

If you do not have hypertension, your blood pressure should be checked at least every two years.