Hypertension

A lack of symptoms makes hypertension the “silent killer.”

The volume of blood pumped by your heart – and your body’s arterial resistance to that flow – determines your blood pressure. As the volume and resistance rise, so does your blood pressure. Uncontrolled and prolonged high blood pressure elevation changes your heart, putting you at risk for left ventricular hypertrophy, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias and congestive heart failure. A specific variant of hypertension, called pulmonary hypertension (PH), affects the arteries in your lungs and the right side of your heart.

Hypertension contributes to the development of heart failure in approximately 60% of patients.

Because hypertension typically has no symptoms, it is vitally important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. The risk of heart failure for women with hypertension is three times that of men with hypertension. High blood pressure is also more prevalent in African Americans than in white and Hispanics, and this prevalence is increasing. You can potentially control your risk factors for high blood pressure by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, avoiding excess salt intake, controlling your stress levels and not smoking.

Symptoms (when seriously elevated): 
• Headache
• Blurred vision
• Dizziness
• Chest pain
• Shortness of breath
• Signs of stroke

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