What is high blood pressure?

Submitted on Wednesday October 30th, 2013
hospice winston-salem

High blood pressure is sometimes called "the silent killer." This is because it is dangerous but has few outward symptoms.

As the heart pumps, it pushes blood through the arteries, creating pressure on the artery walls. High blood pressure means that your heart is having to work extra hard.

Nearly two out of three adults 60 or older have high blood pressure!

Besides age, other factors make it more likely your loved one, or even you, could develop high blood pressure.

  • Chronic disease. People with diabetes or diseases affecting the kidneys or thyroid are at higher risk. Sleep apnea also raises risk.
  • Medications. Some drugs, such as those used to control asthma and treat colds, increase blood pressure.
  • Race/ethnicity. African American adults more often have high blood pressure than do Caucasian or Hispanic adults. 
  • Body weight. Being overweight or obese is strongly associated with high blood pressure.
  • Lifestyle. Too much salt in the diet and/or too much alcohol raises the risk. As does stress. On the other hand, exercise and quitting smoking significantly lower risk.

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