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Area Agency on Aging

Posted on: December 16, 2013

[ARCHIVED] Hypertension

Hypertension, elevated blood pressure, is a medical condition in which the flow of blood to cells is obstructed by compression of the blood vessels, which requires the heart to generate more pressure to force a normal amount of blood through the vessels. Hypertension is sometimes called “the silent killer” because it often has no symptoms in the early stages.

Recent studies show that the number of people with high blood pressure in the United States is declining due to drug treatments and lifestyle changes.

An instrument called a sphygmomanometer is used to measure blood pressure. Systolic pressure (top number) is measured as the heart contracts to pump out blood. Diastolic pressure (bottom number) is measured as the heart relaxes to allow blood to flow into the heart. Keeping blood pressure readings at 120/80 is one of the best ways to prevent more serious complications.

Genetics play a role in hypertension. Other factors including diet, inactivity, obesity, smoking, and heavy alcohol use may contribute to high blood pressure.

A physician may prescribe changes in diet and lifestyle to lower blood pressure. Some people can lower their pressure by limiting salt or losing weight. Next, a physician would prescribe medications known as antihypertensives.

Consult your physician to get a checkup to prevent hypertension and its effects.

Westmoreland County
Area Agency on Aging
Information Line
200 South Main Street
Greensburg, PA. 15601
Contact: Beverly Trovato
Ph: (724) 830-4444

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