Would you be surprised if we told you that 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure? Most people would, and it's this surprise that exemplifies why high blood pressure is called the "silent killer."
Many people think they eat well and exercise enough to prevent heart disease, but most people aren't doing enough or they're predisposed to heart disease because of genetics — meaning they have to work even harder to keep heart disease away. The shocking nature of high blood pressure's prevalence is just one reason that it earned its villainous reputation. Here are four reasons more you need to know about.
1. Blood pressure can go up with no immediate symptoms
A huge misconception people have is that they can always feel when their blood pressure is too high. You may envision a cartoon where a person gets really angry as their vessels bulge in their brow and they turn red or you may expect sweating, headaches, or flushing. The reality is much more subtle. High blood pressure isn't a momentary feeling; it's prolonged, damaging pressure on your heart, blood vessels, and every part of your body. If you're experiencing these symptoms, you should definitely see Gurprit Sekhon, MD to learn more about your heart health — but know that you may have high blood pressure with no symptoms at all.
2. It follows a person through their life
Modern technological advancements have made our lives easier in so many ways, and they've helped create a society where people have to move very little to work, play, and live. Even many children spend hours a day at desks, riding buses, or sitting in front of a screen as high blood pressure rates among children continue to rise. These children become adults who may get desk jobs and this sedentary lifestyle continues. On top of this, the dietary habits that a child develops follow them into adulthood in the same way because how they ate as a child seems "normal," even if it's really unhealthy. Add to this lifestyle habits like poor stress management, smoking, or drinking excessively and it compounds the effects over the years so that by the time a person reaches the relatively young age of 30, a lot of damage has already been done.
3. It's doing irreversible damage before it's even diagnosed
If you have high blood pressure, your heart has to work harder with each pump to get oxygen and nutrients to the various cells of your body, which leads to nutrient-deprivation in your organs. Over a short time, those organs weaken and eventually fail completely. But most of the time, organs don't complain until they're in their final stages. People who don't get an early diagnosis often find out too late that they've done irreversible damage to organs like the:
- Inner ear
4. It's the leading cause of death
High blood pressure overworks your heart, increasing your risk of a sudden cardiac arrest and stroke as it slowly hardens the arteries. This makes it even harder for blood to get where it needs to go, and because your vessels are struggling to transport blood, they will often widen into what is called an aneurysm. This bulged vessel has weakened walls so it's likely to burst at some point, wreaking even more havoc on your body. Any of these will lead to a medical emergency and possible death. All of these blood pressure complications make high blood pressure the number one cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women. Over 600,000 people die each year.
Have you been screened for high blood pressure? You need to know the truth so that you can take steps to live a long, happy, healthy life. Contact Nu Wave Medical Center today to make an appointment.