Hypertension, the medical name for high blood pressure, is known as “the silent killer.” Approximately half of adults with untreated hypertension will die of heart disease, and about one-third will die of stroke. Yet it has no symptoms, even as it devastates the arteries, the heart, the brain, the kidneys, and the eyes.
Older adults are at greatest risk: hypertension is the most common chronic medical condition in the older population. More than 50% of seniors have been diagnosed, and the lack of symptoms means that many more are undiagnosed.
Why is hypertension dangerous?
In hypertension, blood flows through the body at increased force with which through the blood vessels. This not only leads to extra wear and tear on the arteries, it also increases stress on the heart.
What are the causes of hypertension?
There are many uncontrollable risk factors for hypertension, such as a family history of the condition, increased age, and being male. Other risk factors, however, can be controlled, including:
- Smoking, including exposure to secondhand smoke
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Being overweight
- Having high cholesterol
- Being under stress
Certain diseases also increase the risk of hypertension. These include diabetes, kidney disease, and obstructive sleep apnea.
What are the symptoms of hypertension?
You cannot feel the movement of blood through your veins, and so hypertension has no symptoms. The only way to find out if you have it is to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Can hypertension be treated?
Yes, and treating it should be a high priority! One of the best ways to treat hypertension is to change any of the lifestyle-related risk factors above. Also, salt increases blood pressure, and reducing sodium intake is a helpful step in controlling hypertension. These measures are also useful for preventing hypertension.
If high blood pressure cannot be managed by lifestyle changes, there are several blood pressure medications that can be prescribed. Someone diagnosed with hypertension should see their healthcare provider monthly until their blood pressure is under good control.
Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, is a government-approved PACE program created to provide seniors, their family, caregivers and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet their health care needs while continuing to live in their community.
Because we see our clients regularly, we have an excellent ability to diagnose and monitor high blood pressure.
Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals who give each client the coordinated care they need. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.
We provide a variety of services, including primary care, hospital care, medical specialty services, prescription drugs, nursing home care, emergency services, home care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adult day care, recreational therapy, meals, dentistry, nutritional counseling, social services, laboratory / X-ray services, social work counseling, and transportation.
Our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.