High blood Pressure is a silent killer. High blood pressure predisposes the individual to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, disease of the coronary ateries, hardening of the arteries, and heart failure.
Unfortunately, most peole with high blood pressure have no symptoms whatsoever. The good news is that treatment of hypertension reduces the incidence of fatal heart attack by 45-50% and fatal stroke by 55-60%.
The problem is that millions of people are unaware that they have high blood pressure and are not receiving treatment. Adults should have a yearly exam by their physician, during which blood pressure is checked.
Blood pressure can also be self monitored with a portable blood pressure kit.
How do we treat high blood pressure?
The inter-relationship between the physician and the patient in treating high blood pressure is what I call “tailored therapy.” Because there is no strict formula for treating hypertension, the physician must tailor the therapy keeping in mind the patient’s unique history and problems.
High blood pressure can sometimes be treated successfully with lifestyle changes alone: exercise, cessation of smoking, controlling sodium intake(which should be less than 100 mEq per day), cutting out alcohol and reduction of stress.
These measures should be taken in every hypertensive individual. If nonpharmacologic measures are not successful, the next step would be to treat with medication.