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High Blood Pressure: The Silent Disease

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High Blood Pressure: The Silent Disease

Article By: Reena
Aggarwal, PharmD Candidate 2020, Mercer
University College of Pharmacy

 

According
to the American Heart Association, almost half of the United States adult
population has high blood pressure, or hypertension (some who might not even
realize it). Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel
walls when the heart is beating (systolic, top number) and resting between
beats (diastolic, bottom number). Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm
Hg, and high blood pressure is more than 130/80 mm Hg and remains consistently
high over time.

There
are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why it can be
dangerous. Taking a few minutes to check your blood pressure at your local
pharmacy or when you have an appointment with your healthcare provider can
ensure early management and treatment. Since there is no one specific cause of
high blood pressure, it’s important to try and control your modifiable risk factors
(ones you can change) to prevent further complications from occurring. If left
uncontrolled, there is a risk of stroke, vision loss, heart failure, heart
attack, sexual dysfunction, and kidney disease/failure.

Who
is at risk of developing high blood pressure?

·        
Family
history

·        
Age
and gender: males at higher risk until age 64, females if 65 and older

·        
Race:
African Americans are more at risk compared to other racial backgrounds

·        
Overweight
or obesity

·        
Lack
of physical activity

·        
Unhealthy
diet, especially if high in sodium

·        
Heavy
alcohol use

·        
Smoking
and tobacco use

·        
Other
conditions (diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, chronic kidney disease)

·        
Stress

What
changes can you make?

·        
Exercise:
at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 5 days a week (i.e. brisk
walking)

·        
Healthy
diet: fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains

·        
Limit:
sodium, red meat, trans and saturated fats, and sweets and sugary drinks

·        
Lose
weight: as little as 5-10 pounds can help

·        
Limit
alcohol intake: no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for
women

·        
Quit
smoking and/or using tobacco

·        
Controlling
other health conditions

·        
Reduce
stress

·        
Contact
your doctor to get started on appropriate medications if you are not seeing an improvement
in your numbers

 

References

1.     
More
than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, AHA says. www.heart.org.
https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/05/01/more-than-100-million-americans-have-high-blood-pressure-ah….
Published January 31, 2018. Accessed February 12, 2020.

2.     
High
Blood Pressure. www.heart.org.
https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure. Accessed February
17, 2020.



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