High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects millions of adults, but millions more may not even know they have it because the symptoms can be so easy to miss. And if you miss the symptoms the consequences can be deadly.

Having uncontrolled hypertension increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage.  It’s no wonder why high blood pressure is often called the “silent killer.”

Blood pressure is the measure of the force of your pumping blood against your arteries. High blood pressure happens when the force is so great that it begins to cause damages to the arteries and eventually the organs. This can happen when the blood pressure rises above 140/90 mmHg.

How Do You Know If You Have Hypertension or High Blood Pressure?

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately. Untreated high blood pressure can cause damage to your eyes, brain, heart, and kidneys.

Here are some symptoms to watch for high blood pressure:arthritis and heart disease ad

  • Headache
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Chest Pain
  • Vision Changes
  • Confusion
  • Bloody urine

While these symptoms can easily be caused by other conditions, be sure to have your physician first rule out high blood pressure.

Hypertension is partially genetic, but your lifestyle significantly contributes to your risk factors. Risk factors for high blood pressure include the following:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Family History
  • Stress
  • High salt diet

High blood pressure can be difficult to diagnose in the doctor’s office if your physician makes you nervous – this is often referred to as “white coat hypertension.” Some people are more uncomfortable in doctor’s offices and may be asked to measure their blood pressure at home before a diagnosis is made.

If your blood pressure is over 120/80 mmHg on multiple visits or after home monitoring, your doctor may want to prescribe blood pressure medication for you. There are several medications on the market, and only your doctor can decide which one is right for you. You will also be asked to make healthy changes to your lifestyle to help bring your pressure back into normal ranges.

Other tests for hypertension may include blood, heart, and kidney tests. A doctor may also request a sample of your urine or an echocardiogram to confirm the diagnosis.

While being diagnosed with high blood pressure can be scary, the disease is manageable with the right combination of diet, exercise, and medication. Make sure you are visiting your doctor regularly to make sure that your medication is working properly.

If you are not diagnosed with hypertension, remember that you can help prevent the condition my eating right and exercising. Visit your doctor for regular check ups to prevent a delay in diagnosis if the condition develops.

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