High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Your blood pressure is related to the amount of blood your heart pumps and the degree of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. Even with very high, or even dangerously high, blood pressure, you don't usually have symptoms, although some people with very high blood pressure may have dull headaches, dizziness, or frequent nosebleeds.

Your risk of high blood pressure increases as you age, and although high blood pressure is more common in men, women often develop high blood pressure after menopause. Hypertension is very common among African Americans and correlates with serious complications including stroke and heart attack.


Why is high blood pressure called a silent disease?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is known as a silent disease because you can have it for years without any symptoms, but uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems such as heart attack and stroke.

First Aid for Hypertension

Hypertension runs in families, so it has genetic risk factors, but you can control other risk factors by increasing your level of physical activity, which helps your heart along with your waistline. The management and control of high blood pressure includes the following lifestyle modifications and medications:

  • Quit smoking and keep alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks a day.

  • Lose weight so that you maintain a healthy weight.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Reduce sodium (salt) intake.

  • Take medicines as directed.

The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of thirty minutes of exercise every other day for heart health, and the Surgeon General recommends thirty minutes of physical activity daily for overall health. Practicing stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing and mediation, along with a healthy lifestyle, helps decrease stress and lower blood pressure.

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