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Friday, 20 June 2014 11:58

HEALTH CORNER

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What is Hypertension?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, affects one in three adults in the United States, while only half are treated for this condition. An additional 25% of adults have blood pressure readings that are considered pre-hypertensive, placing them at risk for hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Hypertension can occur at any age, and the risk rises as one continues to age.

Blood pressure is the force exerted on artery walls from blood flowing through the body. A blood pressure reading provides two measures, systolic pressure and diastolic pressure, which are expressed as millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Systolic pressure is measured as the heart pumps. Diastolic pressure is measured between beats, as blood flows back into the heart.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, has no symptoms, and is often called the “silent killer” because it can go undetected for years until a fatal heart attack or stroke occurs. Untreated hypertension causes damage to blood vessels over time. This can lead to other health complications such as stroke, kidney failure, impaired vision, heart attack, or heart failure. Blood pressure levels should be closely monitored and checked regularly.

Quick Facts...

  1. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is called the “silent killer” because it can go undetected for years.
  2. Hypertension is associated with a high sodium intake and excess body fat.
  3. Maintaining a healthy diet can prevent or manage hypertension in many individuals.
  4. For healthy individuals, the Dietary Recommendations suggest consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, while those with certain risk factors should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.
  5. Healthy potassium, magnesium, and calcium intakes have important, protective roles in the risk for high blood pressure.
  6. The DASH dietary pattern (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is highly recommended for hypertension prevention and management.
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