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More people die of high blood pressure than of cancer and tuberculosis combined

The devastating epidemics of the past-—cholera, pestilence, bubonic plague, and tuberculosis—have disappeared almost entirely. They have been replaced by the no less frightening diseases of modern life. One of the most widespread of these is high blood pressure.

About 20% of all adults suffer from high blood pressure, and according to statistics the number keeps on growing. About 40% of all deaths below the age of 65 are due to the consequences of high blood pressure. And about 40% of all early retirements are due to cardiovascular diseases, of which high blood pressure is a frequent cause.

Were you aware of these facts and figures?

One out of every five persons has high blood pressure-but one-third of patients are not aware of it

The number of undetected cases of hypertension is still too high. Many people with high blood pressure are not familiar with the danger this presents to their life.

Why is high blood pressure dangerous?

The higher the blood pressure, the harder the heart has to work to keep on pumping against increasing resistance. If, in the course of time, the heart muscle tires, weakness and finally failure of the heart can result. Because of the enormous burden it puts on the arteries, high blood pressure adds to their wear and tear, especially in the target organs, the brain, coronary, and kidney vessels. Stroke and myocardial infarction (heart attack) therefore are frequent and dangerous consequences of untreated hypertension. A fatal stroke or heart attack is twice as great for people with untreated hypertension as for those with normal blood pressure of the same age.

Did you know how dangerous high blood pressure is"?

How to recognize high blood pressure

High blood pressure is a "silent danger" because there are no typical symptoms sending out early warning signals. On the contrary: many people feel well and energetic despite their high blood pressure. There is only one way of finding out whether or not your blood pressure is normal and that is to have it checked. Blood pressure measurements must be repeated at least once a year. If an elevated pressure is detected in time, prompt treatment can help prevent the possible fatal consequences.

What is your blood pressure!

How can the dangerous consequences of high blood pressure be prevented?

Bringing the blood pressure down relieves the strain on the heart and arteries; this lessens and often eliminates the dangerous consequences of elevated pressure. With proper treatment high blood pressure can be normalized, or at least brought down to a tolerable level. The treatment does not call for any heroic measures: regular checking of the blood pressure, a few generally painless changes in one's eating and living habits, taking the prescribed medication every day. If detected and treated in time, hypertension should not stop you from leading a normal and productive life. All that is required is determination and close doctor-patient cooperation.

Do you suffer from high blood pressure? If so, follow the treatment plan worked out by your doctor.

How can you protect yourself against high blood pressure?

A genetic predisposition is a frequent cause of high blood pressure. It "runs in the family." If you have a family history of high blood pressure caution is advisable. The way you live can have a bearing on whether or when you will develop high blood pressure. If you are overweight you are a more likely candidate. Also, a high-sodium intake, psychological stress, agitation, and hyperactivity can exacerbate an existing tendency. Losing weight, cutting down on salt in the diet, and avoiding unnecessary stress are useful precautions to help you keep your pressure down.

Do you have a tendency toward high blood pressure? If you do, change your way of life in time.