High blood pressure, known medically as hypertension, is known as “the silent killer” for good reason. Silent, because it shows no signs as it ravages the arteries, the heart, the brain, the kidneys, and even the eyes. A killer, because approximately half of adults with untreated hypertension will die of heart disease; approximately one-third will die of stroke.

Who is most at risk of hypertension? Older adults. Hypertension is the most common chronic medical condition in seniors, with nearly 60% currently being treated.

Why is hypertension dangerous?

Hypertension is a dangerous increase in the force with which blood flows through the blood vessels. This extra force not only damages the arteries, but also increases the amount of work the heart is forced to do, thus damaging the heart as well.

What are the causes of hypertension?

Hypertension has many risk factors. Some are uncontrollable, such as a family history of the condition, increased age, and being male. Other risk factors are controllable, including:

  • Smoking, including exposure to secondhand smoke
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Overweight
  • High cholesterol
  • Stress

Certain diseases also increase the risk of hypertension. These include:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Kidney Disease
  • Diabetes

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Because you cannot feel the movement of blood through your veins, 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?

The answer to this is an emphatic yes. One of the best ways to treat — and even to avoid — hypertension is to address its risk factors. In addition, salt increases blood pressure, and reducing sodium intake is a helpful step in controlling hypertension.

If high blood pressure cannot be managed by lifestyle changes, a healthcare provider may recommend one or more blood pressure medications. Someone diagnosed with hypertension should see their healthcare provider every month until their blood pressure is well 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.

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.

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.

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