Chronic Disease & Prevention

Hypertension: Why Is It Such a Big Deal?

Hypertension, otherwise referred to as “high-blood pressure” by most, is a chronic health condition that can have tremendous negative outcomes. These include chronic kidney disease and heart issues, leading to heart attack, high cholesterol, stroke and sometimes death. A higher blood pressure means that the heart has to work harder with every pump to move the blood and oxygen our bodies need in order to overcome the resistance of the blood vessels. In a person without high blood pressure, the blood vessels are much less likely to show increased resistance. Think about how hard your heart works every day already! Why would we want to make it work harder, or think that it can continue to work hard long-term without consequences?

Like diabetes, people can live with high blood pressure for years without feeling like they are ill. It is another one of those illnesses that sneaks up on all of us if we aren’t being proactive to live a healthy lifestyle and see a healthcare provider at least annually to make sure our blood pressure (among other things) is being properly controlled.

The latest guidelines recommend that blood pressure be under 130/80 in order to be considered controlled  and for people to be at decreased risk for complications.

1 of every 3 adults in America has high-blood pressure, and those at high-risk include anyone who is obese (35% of the population), smokes, has a high dietary salt intake (in almost everything bought pre-made, in a can or in a box at the grocery store), has an increased stress level, elevated caffeine intake, or has an inactive lifestyle.

In coming weeks, I will discuss the types of high-blood pressure, causes, treatment and what you can do to best help yourself to prevent having high-blood pressure!

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