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The Deadly Nature of Hypertension by Eric Raines

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Hypertension, high blood pressure is a very serious disease that many people have in the United States.  High blood pressure occurs when too much pressure is exerted on the artery walls.  It is often called the silent killer because it is a disease that many people have and go through life without knowing it until it is too late.  High blood pressure occurs with stress, poor diet, or other medical condition.  Many times the cause is unknown; it is also passed down through genetics.  A poor diet that contains high amounts of sodium is a major contributor to high blood pressure.  Someone who smokes would also be at risk for high blood pressure.  Screening for hypertension is done by simply checking a person blood pressure.  A normal blood pressure is 120/80.  Consistent blood pressures higher than this would considered hypertension.

High blood pressure typically is not found until persons reach their late forty’s or early fifty’s.  Having hypertension makes a person more susceptible to heart attacks, strokes, and vascular disease.  People who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure must take medication, to help regulate their blood pressure to a normal level.  Checking your blood pressure regularly is very helpful. When checking your blood pressure, the top number is called the systolic pressure.  This is the pressure that the left ventricle exerts on the blood vessels when the heart is contracted.  The bottom number is called the diastolic pressure.  This measures the pressure of the pressure on the blood vessels when the left ventricle is not contracted.

Exercise and eating healthy is the easiest way for someone to control their blood pressure. It also helps improve overall cardiovascular health.  Unfortunately, many people struggle with doing regular exercise and eating right.  The availability of fast foods and processed foods doesn’t help, especially when people live busy lives.

Making your heart work harder than it should is extremely dangerous.  If someone has high blood pressure and they do not take care of themselves, they are at high risk for serious medical events or even death.  Many people are also afraid of what their blood pressure might be, so they don’t check it, especially hypertension can have no symptoms.  Regular check-up’s will help screen for this disease.  During EMT training, a lot of information is taught about high blood pressure because of how common it is.  Many 911 calls are cardiac related.  One of the first things we do for the patient is check their blood pressure to see what is causing their chief complaint.

High blood pressure is no joke.  It runs in my family.  Because of this, I have made sure that I think a lot about the foods that I eat and exercise regularly.  There was a point in my life where I did not think about that and as a result I was fifty pounds heavier than I am now.  The doctor told me when I was twenty-two years old that I wouldn’t be around very long unless I made some lifestyle changes and lowered my blood pressure.  That was my wake up call.


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