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Don't Become a High Blood Pressure Statistic

Don't Become a High Blood Pressure Statistic

It's a club that some 75-million Americans belong to, which equates to one in three of every U.S. adults. This, however, isn't a fun club. Quite the opposite, considering that almost 1,000 of its members die daily.

If you want to avoid joining this club, then you need to avoid:

High blood pressure.

May is High Blood Pressure Education Month, and ATRIO Health Plans is spreading the word that high blood pressure can be deadly. In fact, high blood pressure raises the risk of several dangerous health conditions:

  • Roughly seven of every 10 people having a first heart attack have high blood pressure.
  • About eight of every 10 people having a first stroke have high blood pressure.
  • Approximately seven of every 10 people diagnosed with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure.
  • High blood pressure is a major risk factor for kidney disease.

Are You at Risk?

Many people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it, and about half of those who've been diagnosed don't have their condition under control.

Although anyone is susceptible to high blood pressure, there are a variety of factors that raise the risk, including:

  • Age—The older you are, the more at risk you are. About 65 percent of Americans age 60 or older have high blood pressure.
  • Race/Ethnicity—High blood pressure is more common in African-American adults than in Caucasian or Hispanic-American adults.
  • Overweight—You're more likely to develop high blood pressure if you are overweight or obese.
  • Gender—Prior to age 55, men are more likely than women to develop high blood pressure. After age 55, women are more likely than men to develop high blood pressure.
  • Lifestyle Habits—Among the lifestyle habits that increase the risk of high blood pressure are: consuming too much sodium or too little potassium; lack of physical activity; drinking alcohol to excess; smoking; and continual stress.
  • Family History—A family history of high blood pressure raises the risk of developing the condition.

Head off High Blood Pressure

As a general rule, high blood pressure isn't accompanied by any symptoms. That's why it's frequently referred to as the "silent killer." More often than not, people with high blood pressure don't experience symptoms such as sweating, headaches or a rapid heartbeat. As a result, many adults don't know that it's important to have their blood pressure checked regularly. What they don't realize is, while they may feel physically fine, their blood pressure could be putting their health at risk.

The ultimate goal is to head off high blood pressure entirely, and May—during High Blood Pressure Education Month—is an ideal time to take steps designed to prevent you from joining the millions of Americans who already are members of the high blood pressure club. With that goal in mind, make a commitment to:

  • Engage regularly in aerobic exercise;
  • Follow a low-fat, low-sodium diet; aim to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily;
  • Maintain a healthy weight;
  • Drink in moderation, if at all;
  • Don't smoke;
  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly;
  • Talk to your doctor about your risk for high blood pressure.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/Features/HighBloodPressure/

https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/atrisk

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/signs