Monday, March 30, 2009

Getting Smart About High Blood Pressure

When a person has high blood pressure, or hypertension, this means that the force of blood against the walls of arteries, which usually varies throughout the day, remains elevated. High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder and can cause hardening of the arteries; a condition known as atherosclerosis. These factors make both the heart and the arteries more prone to injury and increase a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, congestive heart failure, eye damage and other serious health problems. Blood pressure is usually measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded as systolic pressure (top number) over diastolic pressure (bottom number). The systolic pressure measures the pressure of blood as the heart is beating, while the diastolic pressure measures the pressure of blood as the heart relaxes between beats. Both of these numbers are important when monitoring blood pressure, however, for people age 50 and over, systolic pressure is used to get the most accurate high blood pressure diagnosis. Blood pressure levels of 140/90 mmHg or higher are considered high, so it is important to discuss treatment options with a doctor to reduce that number. Reaching a healthy goal will help reduce the risk for the various health risks that follow high blood pressure.

Among adults over age 65, about two-thirds have blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher. Many more have levels between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg, which means that they have prehypertension and are at high risk of developing high blood pressure in the future if healthy lifestyle changes are not made. Hypertension can be reduced by maintaining a healthy weight, keeping physically active, maintaining a healthy diet, moderating alcohol consumption and taking prescribed drugs as directed. One of the most serious conditions that results from high blood pressure is heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. This makes it extremely for those at risk to monitor and correct the controllable risk factors for developing the disease, including high blood pressure, irregular cholesterol levels, smoking, diabetes, weight and physical activity. Still, even if people control these risk factors, certain factors such as age and family history of early heart disease are not controllable, so heart disease may still develop. To learn more about ways to lower the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, visit the American Heart Association website. If you or a loved one has experienced a serious injury or death as a result of a delay in diagnosis or treatment of heart disease, please contact the attorneys at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. We serve clients with Brooklyn medical malpractice, Bronx medical malpractice, Manhattan medical malpratice, Queens medical malpracitce and Long Island medical malpractice cases. We also serve clients located in Staten Island and Westchester County.

Call us toll-free 1-877-ASK4SAM and visit

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