Hypertension: The Silent Killer
By Hans Diehl, M.D. www.chiphealth.com
Every third adult in North America has high blood pressure. People with hypertension are three times more likely to have a heart attack, five times more likely to develop heart failure, and eight times more likely to suffer a stroke than people without hypertension, or normal blood pressure.
How Can I Know If I Have Hypertension?
Hypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure reading (the top number) consistently over 130, and/or a diastolic (lower number) reading of 85 or above. The optimal level is below 120/80. Even though high blood pressure has no symptoms (that’s why it is called the silent killer), it can cause progressive changes in the blood vessels until the first sign hits, usually a stroke or a heart attack.
What Causes The Blood Pressure To Go Up?
Certain kinds of tumors will do it, or diseases within the kidney itself. But in 90% of everyday hypertension, no specific organic causes can be determined. For this reason this kind of hypertension is called essential hypertension.
The Following Factors Contribute To Essential Hypertension:
1. High Salt Intake. Surprisingly, hypertension is uncommon in 70% of the world’s population where salt intake is also very low. In places where salt intake is high, as in Japan, the disease is epidemic, affecting approximately one half of adults. Americans consume an average of 10 to 15 grams of salt per day. That’s two to three teaspoonfuls, or about 10 to 15 times more than the body actually needs!
2. Obesity. Nearly everyone who is significantly overweight will eventually experience high blood pressure. It’s just a matter of time.
3. Arterial Plaque. Narrowed and plugged arteries force the body to boost the blood pressure in order to deliver necessary oxygen and food to body cells.
4. Lack of exercise.
6. Estrogen. This hormone, found in birth control pills and used to ease menopausal symptoms, is also a salt retainer. It can raise blood pressure and weight by holding excess fluid in the body.
7. Alcohol. Scientific studies have demonstrated that even moderate use of alcohol may account for 5 to 15% of all hypertension.