We’re used to the concept of the “silencer”, the part
of a gun which keeps you from knowing that a gun was even shot. In taking
care of patients, there is another silencer. High blood pressure or
hypertension can silence us in several different ways and, for most of us,
high blood pressure is a silent killer.
Everybody has a blood pressure which we can measure on
your arm. If it is too low, you get light headed or can pass out when you
stand up too quickly. When it is too high (for most people that means the
top number is 140 or greater and/or the bottom number is 90 or greater), you
don’t have any symptoms. It is silent.
Silence is not golden! While you may not feel bad, there is damage being
done. Too much pressure is hard on the heart (the pump) and can cause
damage to blood vessels leading them to burst (especially in the brain,
which is known as a stroke) or make them thick and stiff which leads to
blockages. In addition, the higher pressure is hard on the kidney (the
filter system) and can eventually lead to kidney failure and dialysis.
So, start by getting your blood pressure checked. If
it is elevated, check it again in a few days. If it is still elevated, go
see your family doctor. There are some changes you can make without
medicine, but you need to do whatever it takes to keep the “silencer” from
silencing your health!