ARCHIVED - Diagnosing Hypertension


Blood pressure tends to rise with age. If blood pressure is high for a long period of time, it can lead to blood vessel damage. This may cause reduced blood supply to different organs and can result in their improper function, or may cause arteries to rupture. The longer blood pressure stays high and the higher it is, the more damage is inflicted to the blood vessels.

Evidence shows that high blood pressure significantly increases the risk of early death, kidney disease and is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular diseases including heart attack, heart failure and stroke. Conversely, high blood pressure reduction with medication and/or life style changes can reduce these risks, and even small reductions in blood pressure may have a significant positive effect on overall heath.

Even though high blood pressure is a serious condition and is easily detectable, approximately one third of the individuals who have it are not aware of their condition. This is often because many people with high blood pressure do not have their blood pressure checked regularly and do not have any signs or symptoms until other serious problems arise. High blood pressure is therefore often called the "silent killer". The Canadian Hypertension Society recommends that all adults have their blood pressure checked every year, or, if additional risk factors (such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease (CVD)) are present, more frequently.

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