High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition characterized by a blood pressure that exceeds 140/90. The first number, the systolic pressure, represents the pressure on the arteries as the heart muscle contracts. The second number, the diastolic pressure, represents the pressure in the arteries once the heart muscle relaxes. High blood pressure affects one out of four adults and is most prevalent in obese and morbidly obese people.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Note: High blood pressure often exists without any visible symptoms hence the nick name "The Silent Killer"

Lifestyle modifications are most necessary when treating high blood pressure. Limiting the intake of alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and salt greatly reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial to achieving a healthy blood pressure. Obesity adds to the risk of high blood pressure in many ways. Obesity causes a higher output of blood as the body attempts to supply the additional body tissue. Obesity causes the kidneys to maintain salt increasing the blood pressure. Obese people often suffer from sleep apnea and this also increases the risk of high blood pressure as the repeated apneas cause a oxygen deficiency to occur in the blood stream increasing blood pressure.

Medical Risks:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Eye damage
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke