Hypertension: The World's Silent Killer Disease Number 1
According to the World Health Organization’s recent research, approximately 70 million Americans aged 18 and over are affected by hypertension. Hypertension, commonly referred to as high blood pressure, is a medical condition which, if left untreated, leads to life-threatening diseases. People with chronic hypertension have high chances of experiencing kidney failure, aneurysm, stroke and heart attack.
The heart and arteries are responsible for pushing blood through the body. Hypertension occurs when the arteries have chronically elevated pressure of blood in them. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or a bit less. People whose blood pressure exceeds 140/90 most of the time are diagnosed with hypertension. Individuals with increased risks of developing hypertension have blood pressure ranging from 120/80 to 139/89 – the condition is often referred to as prehypertension.
No one really knows the exact reason why hypertension occurs. However, certain lifestyle choices have been proven to be related to contracting the condition. Research indicates that people who smoke, use birth control pills, lead sedentary lifestyles, ingest too much sodium or are overweight have an increased chance of having high blood pressure. People who are chronically stressed or consume significant amounts of alcohol are also at greater risk.
Some health problems can increase the risk of contracting hypertension. For example, people with diabetes, adrenal problems, thyroid conditions or kidney disease suffer from high blood pressure more frequently than the general population. Also, for some people high blood pressure is hereditary.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Most people have no symptoms at all, and that’s why this condition is called ‘silent killer’. In fact, medical statistics show that as much as 33% of the population have high blood pressure and without know it. So the statistics display how important it is to have your blood pressure checked now and again.
For those that experience symptoms, the most common ones are frequent headaches, nosebleeds, fatigue, confusion, chest pains, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, breathing problems and blood in urine.
How to Prevent Hypertension
There are several things people can do to prevent hypertension. Regardless of genetic predispositions, individuals who are at risk of developing high blood pressure can make proactive lifestyle choices.
First, people should maintain an appropriate weight. Extra weight adds stress to the cardiovascular system, which can increase rates of hypertension. Maintaining a weight that is right for a person's height and body composition is crucial to preventing high blood pressure.
Second, regular exercise helps prevent high blood pressure. Doctors recommend that people get at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity three times a week. Exercise improves the circulation of blood through the body. Cardiovascular workouts in particular are known to have the most benefits on the heart and arteries.
Also, people should cut down on the amount of sodium in their diets. Doctors recommend that one should limit their salt intake to 1,500 milligrams of sodium or less per day, regardless of weight and physical fitness levels. Research has showed that consuming too much sodium can cause hypertension even in people that are active and thin. Packaged foods often contain much more sodium than the average consumer would suspect. So, eating fresh, unprocessed foods is one way to cut back on the amount of sodium one consumes.