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Hypertension in Youth

    Hypertension Overview

    Hypertension is such a common health problem that one out of three of you reading this has it, and uncontrolled hypertension is a serious health concern that can cause heart disease and increase your risk of having a stroke. It’s especially dangerous because it often has no warning signs or symptoms. Study shows 19 percent of young adults have high blood pressure. Analysis indicates a higher risk for young adults than previously believed.

    What is Hypertension?

    Hypertension is a major long-term health condition and is the leading cause of premature death among adults throughout the world. Primary hypertension emerges from a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Owing to the hereditary component of hypertension, the disorder is considered to have its origins in the young.

    Blood pressure is the force exerted by blood on the walls of the arteries and veins as it courses through the body. Like the ocean tide, it is normal for blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day. Blood pressure is lowest when you are sleeping and rises when you awaken. But when the pressure stays elevated over time, it causes the heart to pump harder and work overtime, possibly leading to various, serious health problems, ranging from hardening of the arteries, stroke, and brain hemorrhage to kidney malfunction and blindness.

    Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers, the systolic (pressure during a heartbeat) over the diastolic (pressure between heartbeats). Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80.

    Prevention measures for Hypertension:

    Because blood pressure rises as body weight increases, a loss of as little as 10 pounds can help to lower blood pressure.

    Two recent studies confirm the blood pressure benefits of maintaining a healthy diet. First is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) clinical study, which tested the effects of food nutrients on blood pressure. It emphasizes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and stresses reduction of fats, red meats, sweets, and sugared beverages.

    Second is the DASH-sodium study, which demonstrates the importance of lowering sodium (salt) intake. Regular physical activity is another good step toward controlling or even preventing high blood pressure. Start with 30 minutes of moderate-level activity, such as brisk walking, bicycling or gardening on most preferably all days of the week. The activity even may be divided into three 10-minute periods each. For added benefit, these moderate half-hours may be increased or supplanted by regular, vigorous exercise. Another healthy move is to limit alcohol intake. Excess alcohol can raise blood pressure as well as damage the liver, heart, and brain. Drinks should be kept to a maximum of one per day for women, and two for men. Finally, quit smoking. Among other things, smoking damages blood vessel walls and speeds hardening of the arteries. Ceasing smoking reduces the risk of heart attacks in just one year.

    Taking Control:

    High blood pressure is a silent killer, often with no obvious or visible symptoms. The only way to find out if you have hypertension is through testing by your physician, who will make the diagnosis based on two or more readings taken on different visits.

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