According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, one in four Americans have high blood pressure. It is a disease that many persons have and are not aware they have. Therefore it is important that those at risk get screened and treated if necessary. High blood pressure can lead to deadly consequences such as heart attacks, strokes or kidney problems. When someone has high blood pressure, they should be aware of different precautions.
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Blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure on the arteries when the heart is contracting and when the heart is at rest. The two numbers are called the systolic and diastolic readings. When these numbers go over a certain threshold, it is considered high blood pressure. A doctor may give someone a high blood pressure diagnosis after several consistently high readings.
According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, high blood pressure can be caused by narrowing of the arteries of the heart, a high blood volume or from the heart beating too fast. Persons who have a family history of high blood pressure, who are overweight, eat an unhealthy diet and do not exercise regularly have a higher tendency for high blood pressure. As people age, they also may be at a higher risk for developing high blood pressure.
Dangers of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer. It is a deadly disease, while it can also lead to debilitating complications. Damage to the heart, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, erectile dysfunction, fluid in the lungs and angina are potential complications that someone can help prevent if they follow treatment guidelines from their doctor and adhere to lifestyle precautions.
People who have high blood pressure should consider making changes in their lifestyle in order to help manage and treat high blood pressure. These include dietary precautions such as eating less salt, red meat, fats, and more fruits and vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Exercising is important, but one should discuss limitations with a doctor. Smoking is not advisable for anyone, especially if they have high blood pressure, since smoking can precipitate hardening of the arteries. Alcohol intake should be limited as well if one has high blood pressure.
Precautions While On Medication
If medications are ordered for high blood pressure by a doctor, there may be certain side effects such as dizziness or symptoms of low blood pressure to watch out for. Taking medications as directed and on time is important in maintaining control. Prior to taking over-the-counter medications, one should clear them with a doctor, since some medications can increase high blood pressure or interact with prescription medications.