Control high blood pressure, keep ‘silent killer’ at bay

Hypertension, commonly referred to as high blood pressure, is the most common diagnosis in the U.S. Hypertension is defined as a persistent elevated blood pressure and is diagnosed based on at least two measured blood pressures on separate clinic visits.

Blood pressure  readings consist of systolic (heart at work) and diastolic (heart at rest) readings, which measure the amount of pressure exerted in the arteries as the heart pumps blood.

Multiple symptoms may occur from elevated blood pressure, including headaches, vision changes, dizziness and confusion.  Unfortunately, people often exhibit no symptoms, which is why hypertension is called the silent killer.

Untreated hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and organ damage to the kidneys and eyes. Prevention decreases the incidence of hypertension and the associated negative health consequences. The recommended screening for those with normal blood pressure is once every two years and annually for those in the prehypertensive range.

Lifestyle plays a significant role in blood pressure management. Risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing hypertension include obesity, smoking, sodium intake, alcohol use, stress, diabetes and elevated cholesterol levels.

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How can you reduce your risk?
• Stop smoking

• Lose weight

• Limit alcohol intake

• Increase aerobic exercise (30-45 minutes most days. Consult your doctor before starting an exercise regimen. )

• Reduce salt intake

Blood pressure checks are performed on a walk-in basis at the Army Wellness Center Stuttgart and at U.S. Army Health Clinic Stuttgart. In addition, the Wellness Center provides tobacco cessation counseling, nutrition counseling and metabolic testing.

For more information, on the Patch Barracks Wellness Center, call DSN: 430-2997/civ. 0711- 680-2997 or visit: