Life-Saving High Blood Pressure Information

The best source of high blood pressure information is your physician. Each time you visit your doctor, a nurse will take your “vital signs;” your pulse, heartbeat, and blood pressure. Your doctor will be informed of your vital signs and if your blood pressure is elevated, this is something the two of you will discuss.

However, if your visits to your physician are limited, you may not realize that you have high blood pressure, also called “hypertension,” until it’s too late and you’ve suffered a stroke or heart attack that could have been avoided if you’d had essential high blood pressure information sooner. Your health is your responsibility; you should attain information on various health conditions so you’ll know the signs and symptoms of diseases that could be life-threatening or could seriously diminish the overall quality of your life. Most drug stores have free pamphlets on high blood pressure information and other conditions. Next time you’re in your neighborhood drug store, pick up these pamphlets and keep them handy to educate yourself on health matters.

What Kind Of High Blood Pressure Information Do I Need?

First, you need to know what high blood pressure/hypertension is. Briefly, hypertension is a medical condition in which constricted (smaller, tighter) blood vessels increase a resistance to blood flow, causing a dangerous increase in the blood pressure of these vessel walls. Your heart must work harder to pump blood through these smaller arteries and vessels. The essential information about high blood pressure that you need to know is that if this condition continues, you’re at great risk for stroke, heart failure and kidney failure. Hypertension is often called the “silent killer” because it rarely shows overt signs of its presence until it’s too late to prevent these life-threatening conditions. Hypertension affects at least 20% of Americans; only about one-third even know they have it.

Additional information about high blood pressure that you need to know is how your blood pressure is determined. When you visit your doctor, the nurse straps a cuff to your upper arm, inflates it and then measures the numbers generated by this machine, called a “sphygmomanometer.” You’ll see your blood pressure indicated by two numbers, one over the other. The top number is your “systolic” pressure that measures pressure as your heart contracts to pump out blood. “Diastolic” pressure measures the pressure as your heart relaxes to allow blood to flow back into your heart. For adults, the normal range of blood pressure is about 120/80. Further information about high blood pressure that you should know is that when your systolic pressure rises to 140, you do have hypertension! If your systolic pressure reaches 160 or over, you have “stage two” hypertension, a serious condition that is life-threatening.

When you ask your physician for information about high blood pressure’s causes, he/she will tell you that scientists are still unclear about the causes of hypertension. In 95% of cases, no clear cause can be identified. How are you supposed to avoid it if you don’t know what causes it? It’s suspected that genetic factors may play a part in developing hypertension. Your physician will ask you for information about high blood pressure in your family. Other factors that may contribute to developing hypertension are too much salt, physical inactivity, obesity, and heavy alcohol use.

You’re never too young to seek information about high blood pressure. Hypertension is a very “treatable” condition once it’s been identified.