Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a very serious condition and can lead to a list of other health issues if it is not taken care of. Hypertension is often called the silent disease because people can have it and be asymptomatic and feel fine.
The only way to know is you have high blood pressure is to get it checked. Having your blood pressure checked is easy, inexpensive and painless.
The health problems that high blood pressure can cause are many. Uncontrolled hypertension can cause an enlarged heart or lead to kidney failure. Hypertension, left unchecked and out of control, is the biggest cause of strokes.
There are factors that will predispose you to developing high blood pressure. People who have a higher than average risk of developing high blood pressure are; men, African Americans, smokers, overweight individuals and those who have a family history of hypertension.
Many people think that only highly anxious, nervous types of individuals will develop high blood pressure. This is not true. A very laid back and relaxed type of person can still develop hypertension.
High blood pressure, while it does not have a cure, can be controlled. Treatment will not be just temporary, but rather lifelong. Treatment for hypertension includes smoking cessation, weight loss, if needed, exercise and dietary modifications. Some cases of hypertension call for medication if lifestyle and dietary changes are not enough to control it.
The dietary changes usually restrict cholesterol and fats and increase plant based foods. Another important dietary change to control hypertension includes limiting salt intake. This does not just mean avoiding using the salt shaker but also restricting the intake of processed and canned foods.
Most of our sodium comes from these sources. Making our food “from scratch” without the use of salt, will dramatically reduce your intake of sodium. Follow up care and regular blood pressure checks will be needed throughout life to make sure your hypertension stays under control to maintain your health.