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The Silent Killer: Signs Of High Blood Pressure

Aug 17, 2007
By the time you experience its deadly effects, it may be too late. Many people never realize they have hypertension until that first stroke or heart attack. For this reason, hypertension is called 'the silent killer' because there may be no sign of high blood pressure (sometimes referred to as BP or HBP in this article) until it reaches a life-threatening stage. Every time you visit your doctor, a nurse checks your blood pressure. There are even machines in many pharmacies that will carry out this check. African Americans of both genders suffer from hypertension more than any other ethnic group, but often have no signs of high blood pressure.

How Will I Know if I Have Hypertension?

First, buy a home BP kit. This simple, inexpensive and portable equipment, called a 'sphygmomanometer' contains a BP 'cuff' and a measuring device for determining your diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Since normal adult readings should be about 120/80, you should primarily be concerned with the 'top' number, the systolic pressure. Using your portable kit, if your systolic pressure rises above 135 and hovers there for a week, see your physician immediately! It takes only five minutes of your time; make it a part of your morning routine.

Since there are few overt signs of HBP, it wears 'sneakers.' Gradually increasing, hypertension is rarely noticed until it has reached an extremely severe stage. Fortunately, other medical conditions serve as a sign of high blood pressure. If you begin to experience unusually frequent headaches, nosebleeds, vertigo (dizziness), and tinnitus (constant ringing of the ears), these could very well be signs of the ailment which your physician can determine by using a sphygmomanometer.

Other medical conditions may be good indicators. Fairly sure give-aways include a rare tumor called 'pheochromocytoma' that originates in the adrenal gland. Thus tumor causes an over-production of very powerful hormones that create hypertension and other symptoms. If you experience sudden bouts of sweating, heart palpitations and headaches, this may be caused by a pheochromocytoma tumor and also a sign of HBP.

Severe headache resulting from a stroke that's due to the rupture of an artery in your brain is a sign of high blood pressure that remained hidden until the stroke has already occurred. This type of stroke that results from hypertension is called a 'subarachnoid' or cerebral hemorrhage.

Chest pain that occurs from a rupture of a 'thoracic aortic aneurysm' or back pain from and 'abdominal aortic aneurysm' are other complications associated with hypertension.

A pregnant woman must be carefully monitored by her obstetrician for signs of high blood pressure. A condition called 'preeclampsia' is characterized by an increase in BP and other symptoms. Preeclampsia endangers the life of the mother and the unborn child, causing convulsions, coma, and death of the mother and/or the child. If a physician suspects that this deadly condition exists in a pregnant woman, she should be taking medication for hypertension until the child is safely born.
About the Author
Eddie Lamb provides an abundance of vital information on a range of health topics. We believe a better understanding of your disorder can help reduce unnecessary anxiety. You'll find a host of useful articles all about high blood pressure listed on our site map page at High Blood Pressure And You.
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