AAHFN Promotes Awareness During National High Blood Pressure Education Month

Armen Hareyan's picture
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High blood pressure is known among doctors and medical professionals as a "silent killer." Nearly one in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure but shows no symptoms of this potentially lethal condition.

Throughout May, the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN) is promoting National High Blood Pressure Education Month to advocate early detection and awareness.

Blood pressure is the force against the walls of your arteries generated by each contraction of the heart. It is measured using two pressures parameters: the pressure when the heart contracts (systolic) and the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats (diastolic). A healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, damages the walls of the arteries making the heart work harder than necessary. This can lead to kidney failure, stroke, heart attack or heart failure.

"It is important to educate the public about high blood pressure so they can take control of their health," said AAHFN President Robin Trupp. "By making healthy lifestyle choices and getting regular check-ups, the chance of developing heart disease and heart failure can be reduced. Heart failure does not have to be an option."

Misconceptions abound about hypertension, leading to a lack of detection and unnecessary medical conditions. For instance, 90 to 95 percent of hypertension cases show no symptoms and have no direct cause. Many people do not get tested regularly because they believe hypertension only affects the elderly and is a natural part of aging.

However, anyone can have hypertension, regardless of age, race, or gender. Because it carries no symptoms, the only means of detection is having routine blood pressure checks -- a quick, easy, and painless test. Early detection, followed by medical treatment, can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing heart failure.

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Hypertension can be treated by medicine, but you can decrease your chance of having hypertension and reduce the amount of medications needed to control it by making lifestyle changes. They include:

-- Regular exercise

-- Maintaining or attaining a normal weight

-- Eating a low-fat, 2000 mg. sodium diet with many fruits and vegetables

-- Consuming alcohol only in moderation

-- Quitting smoking

-- Reducing stress

Most importantly, educating yourself and others can help create awareness about hypertension.

"AAHFN is urging people to get tested each year for hypertension and to remind their friends and loved ones to do the same," Ms. Trupp said.

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