High Blood Pressure Symptoms And Risk Factors
High Blood Pressure (hypertension) is the commonest form of cardiovascular disease in the industrialized world and is the leading cause of both heart attacks and strokes. Today it affects about one quarter of the American population (or about 80 million people) and about one third of these people are not even aware that they are suffering from the condition.
This almost unbelievably high figure has at last led to widespread awareness of the problem in the United States and doctors are now increasingly stressing the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring to catch the problem before it progresses to the point at which the signs of coronary heart disease appear or you suffer a stroke.
Unlike other medical conditions, high blood pressure is not accompanied by any signs or symptoms which are specific to the problem itself and such things as dizziness, headaches and nosebleeds, which are often experienced by people with high blood pressure, can all equally be caused by a number of other medical conditions.
In many cases of hypertension people often feel a dull ache and numbness at the back of their neck when they wake each morning. In addition, sufferers commonly report muscle cramps, weakness, unusual perspiration, palpitations, frequent urination, chest pains, swelling of their legs, nausea and memory loss.
In most cases symptoms of this nature do not appear until the condition has reached a relatively advanced, and often life-threatening, stage. Most people however do not experience any symptoms at all and this is especially dangerous because it means that they continue to do the things which are causing their high blood pressure without even being aware of it.
Hypertension is not discriminatory and can attack just about anybody, although there are some people who are more at risk than others and this is very much a 'lifestyle' disease.
Amongst those most at risk are people who eat rich foods, which are high in fats, salt and cholesterol, and who drink alcohol. The problem is also compounded when this group of people also take little or no exercise.
Age is also an important factor in this condition because as you age your body becomes less efficient at processing fat and dealing with cholesterol. Hypertension is therefore seen increasingly in people from the age of about 35 onwards and, in women, after the menopause.
In addition to lifestyle and age other factors which come into play include a family history of the disease, race and stress.
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