Hypertension is sometimes called the silent killer. This ominous nickname is enough to encourage anyone to want to learn more about it, and hopefully you will be only more likely to see your doctor about it when you learn that it is extremely common. By some estimates, such as those produced by the CDC, about a third of adults in the United States meet the hypertension definition. This disease is chronic and affects the heart. Essentially, it means high blood pressure, and this problem can have far-reaching consequences for the health of the patient. Since many people are still not sure exactly what hypertension is, in this article we will attempt to do three things. Firstly, we will describe just what hypertension is and why it is dangerous. Secondly, we will describe some of the symptoms that commonly present with it. Finally, we will discuss treatment options and show that it is not something worth worrying about so long as you are diagnosed as early as possible.
A Medical Definition Of Hypertension
Hypertension means high blood pressure. Your heart is a pump, like a motor, and just as with any other fluid system, if the pump works too hard for the supporting structure then the high pressure might lead to some sort of failure.
Traditionally, blood pressure was measured with two numbers. The first is called systolic pressure, and is a measure of the maximum pressure reached by the heart. The second is diastolic pressure, which measures the lowest pressure.
Two factors sometimes lead doctors to ignore the diastolic pressure in order to make things easier for the patient to understand. Firstly, hypertension mostly affects those over fifty, and secondly, hypertension in those over fifty tends to present as excessive systolic pressure. As a result, the main focus is on lowering systolic pressure.
Symptoms Of Definitive Hypertension
One of the dangers of the hypertension definition is that mild cases can present without symptoms despite still being a threat to the patient's health. This is why it is important to see you doctor for regular checkups; that way you do not need to rely on symptoms and can have your blood pressure measured directly. However, in more severe cases there are some definite symptoms that should be recognized early. One group of conditions is labeled hypertensive encephalopathy, and is the result of the brain swelling slightly. This can present as a range of problems including nausea, confusion, vision problems, headaches and tiredness. You should not worry if you have any of these symptoms as they easily reverse themselves with reduced blood pressure. These are the most common symptoms, and if they crop up unexpectedly then it is just one more reason to make an appointment with your doctor. Always remember that this condition is treatable and the symptoms reversible.
Treatments For Defined Hypertension
The most essential treatment for hypertension is simply a change in diet and lifestyle. Since these things are very often the cause of hypertension in the first place, it only makes sense to focus on them first. A weight increase can often increase blood pressure, so one of the first steps is to start losing weight. Often, the patient will also have a poor diet, without many of the important vitamins and nutrients necessary for good health. Getting more regular aerobic exercise is also important for lowering blood pressure. It is not difficult to see that these things often arise simultaneously; a poor diet can lead to obesity which can in turn lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, a general change in your daily routine may actually be all that is needed to create a broad improvement in your health.
Defining Hypertension: Summary
One hypertension definition is simply high blood pressure, but this simple problem can lead to serious health problems if left unchecked. Thankfully, the danger can often be averted with a simple change in diet and exercise, and medications exist to help more serious examples as well. It is important to get regular checkups with your doctor so that you can catch the dangers early and start treating them immediately. Hypertension is known as the silent killer because it often presents without serious symptoms and yet can result in death. Catch it early and it is easy to treat, and even a simple change in your daily habits can greatly prolong your life expectancy.
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