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How serious is hypertension really?

My doc yesterday said my weight put me at risk for hypertension and that this could lead to a heart attack, which is common in women. I'm curious if any of you have heard the same thing from their doc, and how worried should I really be. I tend to be a skeptic when it comes to alarmists.

Wed. May 23, 2:32pm

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Hypertension can lead not only to heart attack, but to stroke. It's called the silent killer for a reason. You don't FEEL like there is anything wrong with you, right up to the point where you blow a gasket. Exercise, weight loss, yoga, stress reduction, garlic, cinammon.. the list goes on with ways to help keep your numbers where they need to be to stay healthy. Don't buy into alarmist hype, just keep yourself as healthy as possible. If your doc is recommending medication for borderline hypertension, it would be my opinion that you're better off trying the tactics listed above to correct the situation before resorting to medication. Less undesirable side effects.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 3:01 PM

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if your doc was alarming you to scare you into taking action to avoid hypertension, that is a great thing. I have it and need medication to keep it under control. It was still borderline high with the medication up to about 5 pounds ago. But with steady weight loss and increased exercise the blood pressure has come down - I hope I can some day come off the medication. I just wish I would have taken it seriously and taken action BEFORE it became a problem for me. At least I'm doing something about it now. Better late than TOO late!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 4:55 PM

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4:55 how much weight do you have to lose?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 4:59 PM

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Why would you choose not to believe your Dr? Just because you don't want to lose weight??? I'm sorry I'm normally not this harsh but I think it's pretty pathetic you are looking for ways to justify hypertension being 'not that bad' for you versus just working to lose the weight.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 5:29 PM

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I hate to agree with 5:29, but that was my first thought after reading the original post. Well, except I thought "make the necessary changes" not just "lose weight", since doing things like limiting salt or quitting smoking or walking an hour a day might be the things the OP doesn't want to do.

My obese father had it, ignored it, lived a few years and died from a stroke before 60. Go ahead and roll the dice if you like those odds.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 6:32 PM

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3:01 is absolutely right! I'm a nurse. Take your doctor seriously...and thank him or her for saving you from a life of either living with a severe handicap (from a stroke) or from no longer having a life at all! No alarms, just science.
PS: smoking greatly increases this risk!!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 7:10 PM

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Hypertension is a bad bad thing-It can lead to kidney damage, stroke, heart disease, heart attacks and a bunch of other SERIOUS problems. Listen to your doc, do what you have to do to get it under control.

I was diagnosed w/ HBP this past year at 28 years old and I am at a healthy weight, eat a low sodium and healthy diet, and exercise 5-6 days a week. MY doctor sent me for a bunch of tests to make sure I hadn't damaged my kidneys or heart since they weren't sure how long my blood pressure had been high and that scared the crap out of me. dialysis? kidney failure? eek. Luckily everything looks healthy-and I am so grateful! In my case it's genetics (mother, aunt and sisters all had/have it)-and I had to go onto medication for it. I'm not happy about it, but I realized that all these things I do for my health (exercise/diet/yoga etc) are only part of the equation. If I want to live a long, healthy and happy life I need to keep my blood pressure normal and for me the medication was the answer.

Take care of yourself-your doctor wasn't trying to scare you to be a jerk, hypertension really is something to worry about but for most people there are natural ways to lower it! Good luck!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 10:08 PM

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Yes, hypertension is a big deal, doctors started getting blood pressure readings along with the other vital signs because one does not know they have it without the equipment because there is no other real sign or symptom of high blood pressure. hypertension can be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease which is the leading cause of death in America. Exercise, good diet, lots of fruits and vegetables have potassium which is inversely related to sodium and lowers bp some. Also smoking cessation and decreasing caffeine can help. Good luck and make sure you keep up with the bp testing. Wal mart has a bp reading for free next to their pharmacies if you can't afford one to buy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 11:48 PM

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When you have high blood pressure, it causes the small arteries to develop thicker walls. This reduces the blood flow to the tissues, which then tell the brain/ heart to increase pressure to get the flow back up. Normal blood pressure is 120/ 80 (and lately recommended to be even lower in some people). People with uncontrolled/ undetected hypertension can have values near 300. This can cause the blood vessels, especially capillaries which are tubes lined with a single layer of cells, to break. The organs where there are a lot of capillaries - brain, heart, eyes, kidneys - are especially vulnerable, and the symptoms are strokes, heart attacks, blindness, and kidney failure. Most of the time doctors cannot figure out why a person has high blood pressure. Some are genetic like the previous poster has. About 30% of people with high blood pressure retain fluid when they eat salt, and like an over-filled balloon, develop high blood pressure. A lot of hypertension will go away with exercise and weight control, although it's not really known why. Please take your doctor's advice, and consider yourself lucky it was found before it did damage.

Thursday, May 24, 2007, 12:01 AM

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I agree with the previous poster. You need to take hypertension very seriously. Going on meds is another issue. If you are overweight, first start by losing some weight. If your weight is ok but you don't exercise. MOVE. I have lots of risk factors for heart disease (genetic) but my b/p is normal. Why? I exercise...swim, walk, elliptical, power yoga. I do something (or a combination of things) every day.

If you are eating well and exercising and STILL have high blood pressure you should consider some sort of intervention whether it comes from medication or an alternative therapy. Lots of success with high blood pressure and accupuncture. But do something.

Thursday, May 24, 2007, 8:44 AM

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