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Blood Pressure Warning

January 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 151

Hypertension, more commonly referred to as "high blood pressure", has earned the nickname "silent killer" due to its lack of presenting symptoms. Most people that are affected by hypertension do not demonstrate physical signs and symptoms until damage has occurred.

What is Hypertension?

A person's blood pressure gives the physician a clinical picture of the patient's cardiovascular status. It measures the amount of resistance exerted on the blood vessel walls and is related to changes in cardiac output or a change in peripheral vascular resistance (the blood vessels that run throughout the body). The physician examines the blood pressure by looking at the values of the systolic (the top number) and the diastolic (the bottom number) measurements. A patient is diagnosed with hypertension if their blood pressure is 140/90 or greater at three consecutive visits to the doctor. The reason the first visit is not always used is because some people experience "White Coat" hypertension. Just visiting the physician's office causes anxiety and an elevation in the blood pressure readings. The normal range can be between 100/60 to 139/89 depending on the person and their physical make-up. However, a patient may be diagnosed as pre-hypertensive if the blood pressure is 130/80. Remember, the physician will conduct a thorough exam to determine the course of action.

What Factors Can Cause Hypertension

Uncontrollable factors:

Narrowing of the arteries in the kidneys and acute kidney disease Some medications Pregnancy Diabetes Age (55 and older for men; 60 and older for women. But hypertension can occur at younger ages)

Controllable factors:

Smoking Stress/anxiety Obesity- BMI ≥ 30 Sedentary lifestyles Complications of hypertension

Long term hypertension can lead to heart disease, stroke and chronic kidney disease. Untreated hypertensive episodes can lead to death.


Treatment is determined by your physician who will also perform a complete physical exam and make a decision on the best course of action. Treatment is based on individual situations. Treatment is determined by such factors as severity of disease, other additional illnesses, age, sex, weight, and race. Often the first medication is a vasodilator to help dilate the blood vessels and decrease resistance. Another consideration is a diuretic that will decrease circulating fluid volume.

How You Reduce Risk Factors?

Weight reduction - a healthy BMI between 18.5 - 24.9

Adopt the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) eating plan - The diet consist of fruit, vegetables, low fat dairy products, reduced saturated fats and total fats. Cut out fried fatty foods from the diet. Also consume low sodium (salt) food items and monitor the sodium content of food. Read labels.

Physical activity - engage in regular physical aerobic activity such as a brisk walk (at least 30 minutes/day most days of the week).

Moderation of alcohol - limit to 2 drinks for most men; 1 drink for most women (1 drink = 24 oz. beer, 10 oz. of wine, and 3 oz. of 80 proof whiskey).

Stop smoking - there are many smoking cessations programs available. Ask your physician for a referral.

Dr. Barbara Dantzler RN PhD Adjunct Professor

Source: EzineArticles
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