High Blood Pressure or Hypertension

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Blood pressure is a measurement of the force against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. Hypertension is another term used to describe high blood pressure. This common condition increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death for Americans. High blood pressure contributed to more than 362,895 deaths in the United States during 2010. Approximately 67 million persons in the United States have high blood pressure, and only half of those have their condition under control. An estimated 46,000 deaths could be avoided annually if 70% of patients with high blood pressure were treated according to published guidelines (Patel, Datu, Roman, Barton, Ritchey, Wall, Loustalot; 2014).
High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people don’t know they have it. For most patients, high blood pressure is found when they visit their health care provider or have it checked elsewhere. Because there are no symptoms, people can develop heart disease and kidney problems without knowing they have high blood pressure. Some people may experience: bad headache, mild dizziness, and blurry vision. Traditionally, diagnosis of high blood pressure (BP) has relied on consecutive checks of clinic BP over a 2 to 3 month period, with hypertension confirmed if BP remains persistently raised over 140/90 mmHg. This method of diagnosis has significant limitations because the BP measured for an individual patient in a clinic setting may not reflect their BP in day-to-day life. The main concern is that as a result of the “white coat syndrome”, hypertension may be over-diagnosed when checked in the clinic setting; resulting ...

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... potassium level is higher than 4.5 mmol/liters. If further diuretic therapy is not tolerated, contraindicated or ineffective, considering an alpha- or beta-blocker might be prudent. If blood pressure remains uncontrolled with optimal or maximum tolerated doses of four drugs, seeking an expert advice would be the next and last step (Williams, 2013).

Blood pressure tends to rise with age. Following a healthy lifestyle helps delay or prevent this rise in blood pressure. People who have HBP can take steps to control it and reduce their risk for related health problems. Key steps include following a healthy lifestyle, exercise most days of the week, avoid alcohol, stop smoking, and having ongoing medical care.

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