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How serious is high blood pressure?

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Early on, you may not notice symptoms of high blood pressure, so you may not be too concerned. However, in the long run high blood pressure can kill you. Normally, your heart beats regularly, pumping blood through the vessels all over your body. As the blood is pushed by the heartbeat, the blood in turn pushes against the sides of your blood vessels. Blood vessels are flexible and can widen or constrict as needed to keep blood flowing well. For a variety of reasons, your blood may begin to push too hard against the blood vessels. This is high blood pressure, which can cause your arteries to become stiff over time. This is how problems begin. High blood pressure can lead to damage of your blood vessels, heart, kidneys, and other organs in your body. Heart disease and stroke, both caused by high blood pressure, are the first and fifth leading causes of death in the U.S. The scary thing about high blood pressure is that you may have it without even knowing it. That's why doctors often call high blood pressure the "silent killer." Health care professionals agree: High blood pressure is a big deal.

SOURCES: American Academy of Family Physicians web site: "High Blood Pressure: Things You Can Do to Help Lower Yours." Mayo Clinic web site: "How being black affects your blood pressure: A healthy lifestyle is important regardless of skin color." National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute web site: "Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure; What Are High Blood Pressure and Prehypertension?" WebMD Medical Reference: "High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)," "How adrenaline regulates blood pressure." American Medical Association.



 

Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum on January 22, 2017

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

SOURCES: American Academy of Family Physicians web site: "High Blood Pressure: Things You Can Do to Help Lower Yours." Mayo Clinic web site: "How being black affects your blood pressure: A healthy lifestyle is important regardless of skin color." National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute web site: "Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure; What Are High Blood Pressure and Prehypertension?" WebMD Medical Reference: "High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)," "How adrenaline regulates blood pressure." American Medical Association.



 

Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum on January 22, 2017

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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