Screening for Silent killers: Dealing with Hypertension

Dealing with Hypertension, aka High Blood Pressure, is a medical condition that affects over 1 billion adults worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 46% of adults have no clue that they have the condition. Having it greatly increases the risk of more serious conditions such as kidney failure, stroke, and heart attack.  

Here’s a brief overview that can help you and your health care provider tackle this silent killer during your  next online consultation.

What is High Blood Pressure?

It’s a condition in which the blood pumped from the heart acts upon the walls of the arteries (vessels that bring blood away from the heart).  Here’s a simple analogy: A garden hose can represent your arteries. If you block one end of the hose, the water pressure acting on the walls increases.

Over time, the prolonged exposure to the increased water causes the hose to develop small nicks that eventually become leaks. This concept applies to our arteries as well, if there is a persistent elevation in blood pressure, our vessels will develop their own “nicks” and “leaks”. 

Signs & symptoms

Labeled a “silent killer”, most people do not present with any signs or symptoms. As the condition progresses, some people may develop headaches, nosebleeds, vision changes, fatigue, vomiting, chest pain and tremors. Prolonged elevations in blood pressure incites damage to other organ systems which in turn creates a cascade of health issues.  

How is it Screened?

Screening should begin with all adults 18 years. Persons are at a higher risk if they have elevated blood pressures, overweight/obese, and of certain ethnic groups. Blood pressure is measured with a sphygmomanometer (manual/automated). Multiple measurements as well as home monitoring can confirm a diagnosis of hypertension.  

What can you do to prepare for you teleconsult?

Be ready to answer medical questions. 

Your primary care physician (PCP) will rely on your medical history. This includes your present condition, including any possible symptoms   

Be ready to check your blood pressure. Have a sphygmomanometer (manual/automated) available. If you have been monitoring your blood pressure regularly, prepare to show it to your primary care physician. Have any questions ready as well.  

What to do after the consult?

If your primary care physician gives you the all clear, regular screening can be performed according to the PCPs guidelines.  

If you are suspected to have hypertension, follow your PCP’s recommendations, usually this will include some lab work, BP monitoring, and some lifestyle changes. 

Lifestyle Goals 

When dealing with Hypertension, addressing certain lifestyle factors aids in reducing average blood pressure.  

Weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk for high blood pressure. Weight loss has been shown to improve blood pressure measurements. This includes engaging in physical activities. Consistent physical activity helps you lose weight, combat stress, and lowers your blood pressure.

Eat Healthier: There are many diets out there sticking to one is the key. The DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet specifically targets the condition by increasing the number of fruits, vegetables, fish, and poultry. Additionally, reducing salt from your diet is also important.  

Avoid Vices: Alcohol can raise your blood pressure, even if healthy. For healthy adults, 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.  A drink being 1 beer can (12 oz), one glass of wine (5 oz), 1 shots of 80 proof alcohol (1.5 oz). Smoking should be avoided since they act on the blood vessel walls, causing damage and increased blockages.  

Managing Stress: Stress is a natural occurrence. Limiting its toll on the body can help reduce blood pressure elevations. Mindfulness and deep breathing techniques have been encouraged. Exercising and engaging in healthy coping techniques can also help. 

Regular BP Monitoring: If you are able to monitor your blood pressure at home, you can find out what potential triggers you might have. You will also provide important information for your doctor to figure out how to better tailor their management of your condition. 

Follow-ups are recommended:  This can help both you and your provider figure out the best treatment plan for you. 

Let’s fight this silent killer together before it takes hold of your life. If you’re searching for the right doctor for you, look no further because Eva Teleconsult has a wide selection of primary care physicians and specialists.

Our EVA Doctors are well-vetted expert medical professionals who treat patients with expertise and compassion. Get the best care from the best doctors at EVA.

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