The Silent Killer

Do you suffer from hypertension like millions of adults worldwide? What action can you take to change your situation?

It has been said that as many as 20 million people in sub-Saharan Africa may be affected by this condition and the African Union has called hypertension one of the continent’s greatest health challenges after AIDS.

The World Health Organization estimates that by the year 2020, 40% of all deaths worldwide will be related to cardiovascular disease.

Hypertension is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ because harm can be happening without the patient even realizing it – although hypertension may be accompanied y cold hands or feet or headaches, very often, with less severe hypertension there may be no symptoms. In fact, more than a million times a year, the first symptom of a heart attack is the last!

Doctors are now talking about a new risk area which they are calling ‘pre-hypertension’ – this is a borderline pressure range which can be seen as a ‘warning of trouble to come’. The problem is that high blood pressure puts a strain on the heart that it is not designed to cope with – with higher pressure, the heart has to pump harder to push the blood – the heart responds by enlarging to be better able to this hard work which is a problem for an organ that is meant to be lean and flexible to work as it should.

A further complication comes from high cholesterol – circulating fats can be trapped in constricted vessels and when these break free, a heart attack can be the result.

The brain can also be affected through a stroke. Probably three-quarters of strokes are caused by a blood clot or loose plaque lodging in the vessels of the brain, where it cuts off the flow of oxygenated blood. Other strokes are general caused by vessels that give way under elevated pressure.

Next Post: What Can Be Done

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