High blood pressure
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High blood pressure is becoming a very serious health crisis in the United States. A greater number of people are diagnosed with high blood pressure every year than almost any other ailment. High blood pressure can lead to serious health complications and place an individual at risk for other health problems. High blood pressure is also called hypertension. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury and anyone with blood pressure in the range of 120/80 to 139/89 is considered to be pre-hypertensive, or is at the bottom level of high blood pressure.


There are rarely any symptoms associated with high blood pressure. If an individual experiences high blood pressure symptoms, a health care professional should be contacted immediately. Symptoms such as confusion, severe headache, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, excessive tiredness, sudden visual changes, shortness of breath, or severe sweating are typically a sign of excessively high blood pressure and require immediate emergency medical attention.


In most cases of high blood pressure there is no one defining cause. Causative factors are usually accumulative and vary greatly from patient to patient. Factors such as the use of excess sodium or salt in the diet, chronic alcohol use, the use of certain medication including appetite suppressants and cold medications, obesity, anxiety, stress, pain, diabetes, renal disease, alcohol toxicity, recreational drug use, arteriosclerosis, renal artery stenosis, and coarctation of the aorta can factor into high blood pressure. Lifestyle choices such as a high fat, high sodium diet and a failure to exercise properly can also factor into having high blood pressure.
High blood pressure
Image: High blood pressure


About 1 in every 5 Americans experiences high blood pressure. Risk factors are typically tied into lifestyle choices, although in some cases there seem to be no risk factors. Science recently has suggested that high blood pressure risk factors can also be genetically linked. Those with high blood pressure in their immediate families should take precautions such as a low sodium diet, proper exercise, the avoidance of smoking and alcohol consumption, and weight loss when necessary.


Diagnosis typically includes a physical examination. The physician should ascertain a thorough medical history to determine the typical blood pressure history over a period of several years. Tests may be performed such as a blood test known as a chem 20, a urinalysis, x-rays of the kidneys, or an echocardiogram. These tests can help reveal if the high blood pressure has caused any damage and to what extent damage has occurred. Of course, taking the blood pressure can determine whether or not the blood pressure is high.

The blood pressure consists of two numbers, an upper number and a lower number. If the upper number is above 140 and the lower number is above 90 in an otherwise healthy individual, lower in people with conditions such as diabetes or other illnesses.


Treatment for high blood pressure varies, depending on how high the blood pressure is and what lifestyle changes can be adequately made. Home monitoring of the blood pressure is recommended. A change in diet and exercise, weight loss, and a significant decrease in the amount of alcohol which is consumed is typically recommended as they apply. Medications may or may be prescribed. If the blood pressure is consistently over 140/90 the physician should prescribe medication to help bring the blood pressure down.

Medication comes with a risk of side effects, such as constipation, nausea, and diarrhea which may make a patient very uncomfortable. In this case it is best to try to lower blood pressure with lifestyle changes instead of medication.


Products which contain MSG, sodium, and baking soda typically have very little effect in people without high blood pressure. These ingredients tend to have s very significant effect in people with high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks and should be addressed vehemently. Patients with high blood pressure in their immediate families should take advantage of free blood pressure screenings in addition to scheduling an annual check up with a family physician. Monitoring blood pressure once a year past the age of 45 is not often enough. Most cases of high blood pressure show up after the age of 45 and are routinely diagnosed in a family physician setting.
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