Deciphering Hypertension and Its Symptoms

High blood pressure is more dangerous than it sounds.

Woman takes her blood pressure measurement to see if she is experiencing hypertension at home.

Did you know that nearly half of all Americans have been diagnosed with hypertension? And more are living with the condition and don't know.

Thankfully, there are some things you can to treat and even prevent hypertension. Here are a few things to know:

What is hypertension?

Hypertension is known simply as high blood pressure—the pressure of blood that pushes against your artery walls. It occurs when your systolic pressure is over 130 and diastolic is over 80.

What causes hypertension?

Exact causes of hypertension aren’t known, but many studies have determined potential behaviors and circumstances that can influence your blood pressure.

Risk factors that can cause high blood pressure include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Excessive sodium in diet
  • Over consumption of alcohol
  • Uncontrolled stress
  • Old age
  • Genetics and family history
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid issues

What are hypertension symptoms?

Although hypertension is spreading across America like wildfire, it’s known as the “silent killer” because it may show no symptoms. It is, however, often the culprit of heart problems or stroke due to the strain it puts on arteries.

The best course of action is to routinely have your blood pressure checked. This can be done with your healthcare provider, at your local pharmacy, or even at home.

Keep in mind that feeling nervous, caffeine consumption, or recent exercise may affect your blood pressure. If you feel you're not getting an accurate reading, try tracking it over a few days.

Can hypertension be prevented?

Yes! Hypertension is largely preventable. Eating well, limiting your alcohol intake, getting enough sleep, living an active lifestyle, and maintaining a healthy weight can keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of hypertension.

Related: 5 Steps to Reduce High Blood Pressure

How is hypertension treated?

Being diagnosed with hypertension can often come with necessary lifestyle changes, medication, and regular meetings with your healthcare provider. Some healthcare providers and facilities even specialize in hypertension and can help you get reach your target blood pressure numbers with ongoing care.

Related: 4 Simple Health Tips You Can Use to Prevent Chronic Illnesses

Be smart about your lifestyle choices and ask your healthcare provider any questions you might have regarding blood pressure, and you’ll be on your way to improving your health.

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