High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack

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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects millions including children and teens. 

An estimated 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure, raising the risk of heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure and other health problems.  

And now a new study shows only about half have it under control. This means many are at a greater risk for heart attack or stroke.

Controlling your blood pressure comes down to a healthy diet, exercise, stress management and in many cases, the right medication at the right dose.

Normal blood pressure is defined as a measurement below 120 over 80. People are diagnosed with high blood pressure once their readings reach or pass a measurement of 140 over 90. Only about half of the nation's hypertension patients have their blood pressure under control.

High Blood Pressure/Hypertension symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  •  Fatigue or confusion
  •  Vision problems
  • Chest pain 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • irregular heartbeat
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears

About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that's 1 in every 4 deaths.

Damage from high blood pressure can build over time. 

The excess strain and resulting damage from high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) causes the coronary arteries serving the heart to slowly become narrowed from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque.  As arteries harden with plaque, blood clots become more likely to form. This slow process is called atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that may begin as early as childhood. Although the exact cause is unknown, atherosclerosis may start with damage or injury to the inner layer of an artery.

Risk factors:
Hardening of the arteries occurs over time. Besides aging, factors that increase the risk of atherosclerosis include:

High blood pressure
High cholesterol
Smoking and other tobacco use
A family history of early heart disease
Lack of exercise
An unhealthy diet

Heart attack signs and symptoms by Mayo Clinic:

Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back
Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
Shortness of breath
Cold sweat
Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

Call 911 - see your doctor

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