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How High Blood Pressure Affects the Heart

May 29, 2013

You or someone you know may have high blood pressure, but do you actually know the causes of this condition and why it is important to try to maintain a healthy blood pressure?

North Ohio Heart image of blood pressure cuff CardioSmart.org says, "Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body". A person's blood pressure can change during the day but if yours remains high and does not lower, then you have high blood pressure or hypertension. Having an elevated blood pressure for a long time is dangerous because this can damage your heart, blood vessels, and kidneys, which can lead to a heart attack or a stroke. High blood pressure has been called a "silent killer" because it can cause damage without obvious symptoms. One in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure but many do not realize it because they don't see any signs. When someone has blood pressure that is dangerously high (called malignant high blood pressure) they may experience headaches, vision problems and nausea. However, you do not have to get to that point.

If you have normal blood pressure, you can maintain your health through diet and exercise to see to it that high blood pressure doesn't develop. If you already have high blood pressure or have been told you have prehypertension (meaning you don't yet have full-blown high blood pressure), you can make lifestyle changes so you can lower your blood pressure. The doctors at North Ohio Heart work with patients to help them manage this condition. Some people need to take medicine, while others can lower their blood pressure without medication. Whether you take medication for high blood pressure or not, an exercise regimen and healthy diet can make a big difference.

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