Dr. J's Rx ABC's: Hypertension - The Silent Killer
Dr. Jennifer Jackson | 7/10/2014, 9:44 p.m. | Updated on 7/10/2014, 9:44 p.m.
Hypertension has been called by many names, but the main one I want to focus on is “The Silent Killer.” The Mayo Clinic shares "that you can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke." Before going into this month’s Rx ABC's, it is important to know the significance of what blood pressure is and how it can affect you when it is too high.
Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. High blood pressure's etiology can be categorized into essential (no clear cause) or secondary hypertension (caused by another medical condition). The Mayo Clinic further states that "high blood pressure typically develops over many years, and it affects nearly everyone eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it."
Most pharmacies or stores with pharmacies have blood pressure machines that are free to the public to use, example Wal-Mart, or sell blood pressure machines that are reasonably priced. I recommend to patients to purchase a blood pressure machine that has an adapter and fits comfortably around the arm. If the cuff is too tight, this could influence your blood pressure reading. Be mindful that these are good resources to aid in monitoring your blood pressure, but the best source is monitoring facilitated by a health care provider.
A- As we navigate from winter's biting winds to spring showers, it is essential to be ALERT and AWARE of high blood pressure symptoms. Although some people have no signs or symptoms, there are those who may experience dull headaches, dizzy spells, and for some higher incidences of nose bleeds.
B - Be BOLD in BREAKING the silence of this silent killer. Do not wait until your follow up visit to get your readings. Ask questions and be proactive in communicating questions, comments or concerns to your pharmacists and other health care providers.
C- Do not wait until the temperature is at its highest to begin to work on CONTROLLING your blood pressure. Make an investment and purchase a blood pressure monitor for home monitoring. Patients taking blood pressure medications can experience a number of symptoms in high temperatures and need to contact care providers (physicians, pharmacists, etc) with concerns.
Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Jennifer O. Jackson with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.