High blood pressure comes without any obvious warning signs. The inability to recognize something is wrong means you are at risk to fatal health conditions. Strokes, heart attacks and damage to other organs can result from having high blood pressure levels. And many Americans who think they are healthy fall victim to this disease because they do not bother to check their blood pressure. But there are ways to know if you have the symptoms of high blood pressure.
Seeing the Invisible
High blood pressure can cause irreversible damage to the heart and arteries. It gradually damages blood vessels within the body, and proof can be seen in the retina of the eye. During an eye exam, an ophthalmologist can see even the slightest damage done to vessels within the eye.
High blood pressure symptoms, while undetectable to the naked eye, can show as swollen blood vessels at the base of the optic nerve. Noticing such damage may be the first clue to many patients that they are suffering from this silent disease.
Once high blood pressure has been diagnosed, many people become alert and begin to notice one or more symptoms. Feelings of faintness and shortness of breath are common symptoms of high blood pressure. Others are dizziness, headaches and blurred vision, but, again, many people don't connect these symptoms to that of high blood pressure. Only a blood pressure reading will verify whether the blood pressure has risen to alarming levels.
Harvard Medical School did several studies on people who show early signs of high blood pressure through the swollen blood vessels in their eyes. They report that these patients are twice as likely to experience stroke, heart attack or heart failure than those who don't show the symptoms. The studies also show that such damage to smaller blood vessels affect more women than men.
Are You at Risk?
So, if you can't feel any symptoms, how do you know whether you are at risk? Get your blood pressure checked. Get your eyes checked. Keep a journal for a week or two about how you feel. Try exercising if you don't normally do it. High blood pressure alone causes tens of thousands of deaths every year, and complications arising from high blood pressure kill over two hundred thousand people a year.
Even though the symptoms are not obvious, you can do something to prevent high blood pressure. Eat right and get plenty of exercise. Today, more and more young people are being diagnosed with high blood pressure. Many doctors link the rising figures to high-fat, high-sugar diets and lack of exercise. The good news is you can prevent high blood pressure.
High Risk People and Locations
Certain races and people living in particular geographic locations are more apt to suffer from high blood pressure, including African-American women living in the Southeast. More African-Americans develop the condition than Caucasians. A high stroke rate has caused some to call eleven states in the south, the ‘Stroke Belt States’.
Prevention is the key when it comes to high blood pressure. You should get your pressure checked before it is too late.
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