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Hypertension: The Silent Killer

My doctor told me I have high blood pressure and wants to start me on medication, but I feel fine. Why do I need to take this medicine?

More often than not, everyone knows someone or they themselves are on medication for high blood pressure. Hypertension is one of the most common medical diagnosis among patients. For several patients, the need to take their blood pressure medication daily is questionable. Why take medication daily when you feel fine? Or you take the medication and feel worse because of it's side effects. Is having high blood pressure really such a bad thing? There is a reason that hypertension is known as the "silent killer".

Hypertension increases a person's risk for heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, kidney disease, and many other chronic conditions. Those who suffer from chronic hypertension often die due to the complications it creates. But how can a person feel fine when hypertension is causing such health concerns?

When your body experiences high blood pressure, it puts extra stress on the heart. The heart has to pump harder in order to combat the increase resistance caused by elevated blood pressure. The heart is a muscle. Like any muscle in the body, the harder the muscle has to work the larger it will grow and the faster it will fatigue. When the heart grows, you get conditions like cardiomyopathy and the heart cannot fill with as much blood as it would normally due to increased heart tissue. When the heart fatigues, it does not pump blood as hard as it normally does and you have conditions such as congestive heart failure due to build up of fluid. The blood vessels are also muscles and can get damaged due to prolonged high blood pressure. When blood vessels are damaged, you form clots to heal them. These clots are the cause for strokes, heart attacks, and blocked arteries.

By keeping your blood pressure controlled, you decrease your risk of causing these complications. You can prevent chronic disease and live a longer, healthier life. Furthermore, you don't always have to rely solely on taking medication for the rest of your life. You can control your blood pressure by changing your life and living healthier. With the proper diet, exercise level, and lifestyle choices, you may not need medication at all.

Some recommendations include eating a diet high of fruits and vegetables, a low salt diet, exercising at least 30 minutes a day 5 times per week, and not smoking are things you can do to prevent or improve hypertension.

#PreventingHTN #HealthFirstPUC

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