Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is called the “silent killer” because very, very few people know when their blood pressure goes up.
When I tell somebody that they have high blood pressure for the first time they say, “I don’t understand. I’ve had low blood pressure my whole life.”
Well, you do until you don’t. Many women and men get diagnosed with high blood pressure in their 50s. But, there are some people who drink a lot of alcohol in their 20s and 30s and their blood pressure is quite high.
This tends to run in families. They don’t even know they have high blood pressure because they never go to a doctor until they are 30 or 40. They might have had untreated high blood pressure for 10 years.
The entire time high blood pressure
- is working against your heart and arteries, you are completely unaware that it is causing so much damage.
- Not only does elevated or high blood pressure cause hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attack and other serious problems, but hypertension can result in a brain hemorrhage (stroke).
- Hypertension also causes kidney disease, where the kidneys function poorly. In some cases, hypertension can result in blindness and amputation of the limbs.