How to Keep the "Silent Killer" Away…

According to the American Heart Association, the normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury). The higher number represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts. The lower number represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxed after the contraction. Further, the blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called “pre-hypertension” and a blood pressure of 140/90 or above is called “hypertension.”

The American Heart Association estimates approximately one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure. Complications of hypertension can cause heart attack, stroke, kidney failure or impaired vision due to damage to the back of the retina.

There are ways to prevent hypertension. One of the simplest ways you can prevent hypertension is by exercising and eating a healthy diet. Just find activities you enjoy and aim for 30 minutes a day of exercise at least 5 days a week. You can exercise with free weights or weight machines.  Doing abdominal crunches or curl-ups can boost heart health if done twice to three times a week. Resistance exercise lowers the blood pressure, reduces body fat, and increases muscle mass and metabolic rate.

You can combine strength exercises with cardiovascular exercise. My experience with cardiovascular exercise goes a long way. Several years ago I became a distance runner. After gradually building my endurance, I got to the point that I am able to run marathons. At the beginning it was 2-3 miles. As time went by, I increased the mileage and kept learning how to handle longer runs. I needed not only to increase my endurance but also to learn how to apply the proper nutrition.  With time, running became one of my favorite hobbies and now brings me lots of satisfaction.

I would suggest for any reader to find out what physical activity you like and make it a hobby. It will become your lifestyle while staying healthy.

It is important to combine exercise with proper nutrition. Choosing a heart healthy diet reduces the risk of hypertension as well as heart disease and stroke.

Blood pressure screening is extremely important.  Have your blood pressure checked regularly.  Mostly, people have hypertension without even knowing it. The uncomplicated high blood pressure usually occurs without any symptoms (silently) and so hypertension has been labeled “the silent killer.” It may be present and remain unnoticed for many years, or even decades. This happens to people who do not undergo regular blood pressure checks. Some people with uncomplicated hypertension, however, may experience symptoms such as headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, and blurred vision.

The presence of symptoms can be a good thing in that they can prompt people to consult a doctor for treatment if necessary. Often, however, a person’s first contact with a physician is a little late when significant damage to the end-organs has already occurred.

Greater public awareness and frequent blood pressure screening may help to identify patients with undiagnosed high blood pressure before significant complications have developed. Do not allow the silent killer to touch you. Please, remember that you will not always experience high blood pressure symptoms. You may have it and not know about it.

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer


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