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Article Title:
Hypertension - The Greatest Risk To Your Health?

Article Description:
Conservative estimates indicate that there are over 600 million 
adults worldwide suffering from hypertension, the technical 
term for persistent high blood pressure.

Additional Article Information:
1027 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Thu Mar  2 17:36:57 EST 2006

Written By:     Edward Vorwerden
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

Article URL:

For more free-reprint articles by this Author, please visit:


Hypertension - The Greatest Risk To Your Health?
Copyright © 2006 Edward Vorwerden
RV Health

Conservative estimates indicate that there are over 600 million 
adults worldwide suffering from hypertension, the technical 
term for persistent high blood pressure. The continued growth 
has caused doctors to define an additional level of risk, 
prehypertension, as an indication of potential trouble. Experts 
believe that as many as 90% of us will develop a blood pressure 
problem during our lifetime, with 50% of us either dying from 
heart disease or a stroke - the usual outcome of hypertension.

As it does most of its harm without the person knowing it, 
hypertension is often referred to as "The Stealth Killer." Yet 
it's true that a few painless moments in a pressure cuff can 
detect hypertension, and a few relatively simple lifestyle 
changes can treat it.

So why has the problem grown to this extent? We are all 
continually bombarded with commercials, and magazine articles 
which reinforce the importance of living a healthy life. Yet most 
of us choose to ignore the message and indulge in all the "bad" 
things such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and high fat snacks.

Could You Be At Risk?

First lets take a look at your blood pressure reading and what it 
means. A blood pressure reading is represented by two numbers, 
120/80 or 160/100 for example. The first number refers to the 
pressure against the blood vessel walls during a heartbeat, the 
systolic pressure. The second number is the  pressure taken 
between heartbeats, the diastolic pressure. Here are the American 
Heart Association's recommended levels of blood pressure (units 
mm Hg):-

* Normal: 120 or less / 80 or less

* Prehypertension: 120-139 ( systolic) or  80-89 (diastolic)

* Stage 1 Hypertension: 140-159 or 90-99

* Stage 2 Hypertension: 160 and above or 100 and above

Unchangeable Risk Factors

African Americans and those with a dark complexion (e.g., 
Bahamians and Native Americans) are at a much higher risk. While 
the reasons may not be clear, some believe that this is due to 
genetic or environmental factors.

High blood pressure shows mercy to no-one.  Men are more inclined 
than their female counterparts to suffer from hypertension before 
reaching the age of 55.  Since women tend to be more health-
aware, they take preventive measures to stave off hypertension, 
though they are still susceptible to the disease.

Through the process of aging, the risk of having high blood 
pressure increases.  Adults between the ages of 50 and 65 are 
more prone to suffer from hypertension.  Bodily changes have 
a direct effect on the heart, blood vessels, and hormones. 
Combined with other risk factors, such changes increase your 
probability of developing hypertension.

Family history can also be a pointer to your risk level. One in 
four of the adults that exhibit a family history of heart disease 
or hypertension face a 60% risk of developing hypertension. 
Genetics, environmental factors and your ability to receive 
proper health care are all critical in determining your risk of 
developing hypertension. Though your family history may reflect 
a propensity to develop the disease, this doesn't guarantee that 
you're destined to suffer from high blood pressure. It does 
indicate, however, that preventive measures should be taken in 
order reduce your risk of the disease.

Changeable Risk Factors

Awareness of your risk factor is the first step toward reducing 
your risk of hypertension.  Obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, 
the consumption of high levels of alcohol and unhealthy eating 
habits are all critical factors in the determination of whether 
or not you're at risk for developing high blood pressure.  A 
change in lifestyle has proven to impact your chances of avoiding 
the illness.

Overweight individuals are vulnerable to hypertension in a number 
of ways. High  fat diets are usually high in salt, which raises 
blood pressure. Carrying excess weight requires the heart to work 
harder, which forces the blood to flow even harder through the 
vessels. In addition a blood gas that relaxs the vessels is 
destroyed by the layer of fat located around the gut.

Establishing healthy eating habits is the first step toward 
lowering your risk. The diet recommended by heart specialists is 
low in fat, low in salt and high in nutrients. Your intake of 
salty snacks, processed foods, and cured meats should be reduced. 
Replace these with more fruit and vegetables. Adopt better eating 
habits and that needle on the bathroom scales will lower, as well 
as the pressure monitor.

Sodium can be a deadly enemy of the body.  The most popular 
dietary source of sodium is ingested through the use of salt. 
Increasing your salt intake requires the body to hold more water. 
The body first stores this water in the bloodstream and then it 
deposits it in the tissues. Fluid retention causes stress on 
the heart and escalates the chances of developing high blood 
pressure. Potassium helps promote a healthy balance of the 
amount of sodium in cell fluids. Fruit - such as bananas - 
and vegetables are an excellent source of potassium.

Physical activity, such as a short 20-minute walk or 
housecleaning event, can have a dramatic impact on your life. 
Any form of exercise assists your heart in the effort to pump 
blood throughout your body.  Lack of exercise causes the heart 
to work harder, resulting in elevated blood pressure.  Strive 
for at least 30 minutes of exercise three or four times per 

Can there be anything worse for hypertension than smoking 
tobacco? Smoking steps up the heart rate while hardening and 
constricting the blood vessels. This creates even higher 
pressure, which causes further damage to the heart and blood 

Alcohol consumption can be detrimental to your health in many 
ways. The occasional beer or glass of wine will not make a 
significant difference to your blood pressure, but indulgence can 
cause serious issues. The consumption of three or more alcoholic 
beverages each day nearly doubles your risk of developing high 
blood pressure.

Wise Up

For those in the high risk category, a change of lifestyle can 
decrease the chances of developing high blood pressure. The 
adoption of a healthier life style is a goal that everyone is 
capable of achieving. Instead of taking a gamble, choose to 
take intelligent steps toward lowering your risk of high blood 

Author Edward Vorwerden suffered a stroke at the age of 37. 
Since his recovery he has put his efforts into helping others 
on health related issues through his website, <a 
href="";>RV Health</a>. 
For more help, advice and tips from Edward you can go to:



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