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High Blood Pressure - The Silent Killer

High Blood Pressure - The Silent Killer

I have encountered numerous patients who choose to overlook their high blood pressure, but one particular individual stood out to me. He insisted on closely monitoring his blood pressure and I was intrigued to know why.

Curiosity prompted me to ask, "Why is it so important to you?"

He responded, "I ignored it for far too long, and I know it's my own fault. But then, my brother passed away from a stroke. My father, and cousins, all suffered from strokes, high blood pressure, and diabetes."

He was fortunate that significant "end-organ damage" hadn't yet been detected, and even more fortunate that he now understood the risks and desired to regain control of his health.

In most cases, patient awareness accounts for 80% of success.

So, what exactly is high blood pressure, or hypertension? In essence, it refers to the force or pressure exerted on the arteries as the heart pumps blood. It is measured through two numbers: the systolic blood pressure, representing the pressure when the heart beats, and the diastolic pressure, which measures the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.

You are not alone in this. In fact, there are 1.3 billion adults worldwide who have high blood pressure, accounting for approximately 32% of adults. That means, for every three adults, one of them has high blood pressure. However, these figures only reflect those who have been diagnosed. Many others remain unaware and fail to check their blood pressure regularly.

"Why should we be concerned about high blood pressure?" you might ask.

When combined with stroke, deaths resulting from these cardiovascular conditions outnumber those caused by cancer and accidents combined, which rank as the second and third leading causes of death.

Well, it is the most prevalent modifiable risk factor for premature cardiovascular disease. Its common complications include heart disease (such as left ventricular hypertrophy, heart failure, and ischemic heart disease), ischemic stroke, intracranial hemorrhage, and end-stage kidney disease.

"Addressing high blood pressure is not a choice, but a responsibility we owe to ourselves and our loved ones, as we strive for a healthier future."

"Wait... Are you saying that controlling blood pressure can prevent the leading cause of death?"

Indeed, I'm glad you understand. Yes, heart disease surpasses cancer as the primary cause of death. When combined with stroke, deaths resulting from these cardiovascular conditions outnumber those caused by cancer and accidents combined, which rank as the second and third leading causes of death.

Controlling blood pressure has the potential to prevent over 850,000 deaths annually in the United States alone.

By understanding the risks associated with high blood pressure and taking appropriate measures to control it, we can mitigate the potential damage it inflicts on our bodies. Regular check-ups, lifestyle modifications, and adherence to medical advice are essential steps toward maintaining optimal blood pressure levels.

We must not underestimate the impact of high blood pressure on our well-being. It is a battle that requires our ongoing vigilance and commitment. Together, with awareness, education, and a collective effort, we can confront high blood pressure head-on and pave the way for a healthier future.

Let us not wait for the storm to rage; instead, let us be proactive in addressing high blood pressure, safeguarding our hearts, minds, and bodies from its destructive force. Through prevention, monitoring, and effective management, we can strive toward a life of vitality, longevity, and well-being.

About this Page

Bilingual Vietnamese-English professional Dr. Pham, a former cardiovascular thoracic surgeon, now prioritizes empowering individuals to optimize their wellness and potential. Offering insights in preventive medicine and lifestyle changes, journey with Dr. Pham towards a healthier, vibrant life. Learn about Dr. Pham here.

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