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Health Spot: Hypertension

Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is known as the “silent killer”. It is estimated that up to 46% of adults with hypertension are unaware they have the condition. Hypertension increases the risk of heart, brain, and kidney diseases, which can lead to premature death.

My name is Dr. Kenny Anderson, medical director for the Gunnison Valley Health Family Medicine Clinic.

There are several risk factors for hypertension. Several modifiable factors are diets that are high in salt, high consumption of saturated and trans fats, low intake of fruits and vegetables, lack of physical activity, consumption of tobacco and alcohol, and being overweight.

There are several risk factors that are beyond our control including family history, age, gender, and ethnicity.

Hypertension is the “silent killer” because it generally has no signs or symptoms. Most of the time the only way to know if you are at risk is to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Untreated hypertension could lead to heart attack or stroke.

To prevent hypertension, it is important to reduce salt intake, eat more fruits and vegetables, be more physically active, reduce alcohol consumption, and reduce the consumption of foods high in saturated and trans fats. Management of existing hypertension includes reducing and managing stress, regularly checking blood pressure, and treating high blood pressure with medicine when appropriate.

Contact the Gunnison Valley Health Family Medicine Clinic or your primary care provider if you need more information.