Could you have high blood pressure?
Lifestyle changes that can help you
Few assumptions are more dangerous than this: If you have high blood pressure, you know it.
Doctors refer to high blood pressure, or hypertension, as a silent killer because it rarely produces warning signs. “When symptoms do occur, such as headache, nosebleeds or blurry vision, high blood pressure may have already reached severe and possibly life-threatening levels,” says Daniel Pohlman, MD, a primary care physician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
Untreated hypertension can trigger serious health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and vision loss. The American Heart Association reports hypertension will kill roughly 50,000 Americans this year.
Below are potentially dangerous misconceptions about hypertension:
- If you’re naturally calm or not significantly stressed, you’re off the hook.
Not so, Pohlman says. Anyone can develop hypertension, regardless of personality or personal pressures.
- If you’re too young for AARP, you aren’t at risk.
Wrong again. Although risk increases with age, even children can develop this condition.
The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to get it checked regularly.
Starting at age three, children should have their blood pressure measured at all routine office visits, Pohlman says. Adults should have it checked at least every two years, or more often if they have heightened risk. Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and a family history of the condition all increase your risk.
But there is good news. “Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, regular exercise and — if necessary — drug therapy, can lower blood pressure and prevent dangerous complications,” Pohlman says.
Even difficult-to-control hypertension can often be lowered with the right combination of treatments. At the nationally recognized Rush University Hypertension Center, doctors regularly help patients control their conditions.
Pohlman stresses, “Hypertension can be managed — if you know you have it.”
To make an appointment at the Rush University Hypertension Center or with a primary care physician who can help control your blood pressure, call (888) 352-RUSH (7874).
Heart and Cardiovascular Care at
Rush University Medical Center
At Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, researchers and nurse specialists work in teams to address the full scope of heart problems, whether common or complex.
Working in state-of-the art facilities, using some of the world’s most sophisticated technology, these experts are on the leading edge of diagnosis, treatment and discovery. From preventive measures to heart transplantation, they are helping to revolutionize heart care.
For more information about cardiovascular services at Rush visit our Heart & Vascular Programs home page.
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