High Blood Pressure: Why Me?

High blood pressure: Why Me?

“I engage in exercise and I take low salt  diet. So why do I have high blood pressure?” Despite its astonishing prevalence, many people struggle with the diagnosis of high blood pressure, or hypertension. It’s worth exploring why, because being involved in you care is crucial for optimal blood pressure control.

Certain features make any diagnosis easier to accept: First, people are more likely to accept a diagnosis if they have symptoms . Some diseases have clear causes: Down syndrome and older maternal age, HIV infection and contaminated needles. A smoker who learns he has lung cancer may not be shocked. But non-smokers who receive this diagnosis usually ask, “Why me?”

People diagnosed with hypertension are often baffled, and many ask, “Why me?” This doubt makes sense, in light of the principles above. Symptoms make a diagnosis more real. But unlike many other illnesses, hypertension rarely causes symptoms. In fact it loves anonymity and it is ominously called the “Silent killer.”

Some people develop headaches  and generalised  malaise when their blood pressure rises into dangerous zone (systole above  140mmhg and diastole above 90mmhg), but in others, hypertension can go undetected until it causes a lethal heart attack.

Fortunately, it is easy and painless to measure blood pressure. When doctors deliver the diagnosis of hypertension, they package and fortifies it with serious complications. These include heart attack, kidney failure, and stroke. Doctors discuss the aforementioned complications to motivate their patients, but sometimes end up creating phobia instead. 

Fear can lead to denial. Is hypertension serious? Yes, if left untreated. But when blood pressure is controlled, the risks are greatly reduced. The important message is that treating hypertension can prevent severe complications and add dramatically to life expectancy. knowing the cause of disease is helpful. In reality we rarely find just one cause for anyone’s hypertension. 

There are almost always multiple factors at work. Some causes can’t be prevented, like genetics and age. High blood pressure often runs in families. Genetic risk is complex, probably resulting from a combination of harmful mutations in risk genes and silencing of protective genes. There is nothing we can do to change our genetics, just as we can’t stop aging. With aging comes a universal increase in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and in the risk for heart disease. 

In the same vein, tackling modifiable risk factors for high blood pressure, for example, losing weight and getting more exercise, often produces great benefits. Other measures include diet management(reduced salt,fat carbohydrate and alcohol intake... increased protein vitamins and high fibre intake, self  hypnosis (resting) and regular  BP check.


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