The Silent Killer

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a complication, which if not monitored and controlled, can cause permanent damage to the body. Blood pressure is the amount of force exerted on the vessel walls. There is a limit, which the body can handle and anything over that causes the vessels to narrow and harden making the heart work harder than it should. This can lead to heart damage, which can lead to damage of other vital organs. There are no apparent symptoms to hypertension giving it the nickname “The silent killer”.

Blood pressure is expressed as two numbers. These numbers represent the pressure against the walls of your blood vessels as the blood moves through them. Systolic pressure is when pressure is highest in the arteries and occurs when the heart contracts. Diastolic pressure is the moment of minimum pressure in the arteries and occurs when the heart relaxes. Normal blood pressure is less than 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic), typically written as 120/80 mm Hg (read 120 over 80 millimeters of mercury).

Hypertension can be the result of a variety of factors. Family history, poor diet and exercise habits, stress and other prescription medications can all lead to hypertension. The best course of action, if you have an issue with blood pressure, is to consult your doctor and make modifications to your lifestyle to reduce your blood pressure back to normal. This could include medication, a fitness program, or dietary changes.

Here are a few steps you can take to reduce your blood pressure:

Refrain from overeating

Exercise at regular intervals

Reduce salt in the diet

Limit alcohol intake

Take high blood pressure medication as prescribed by your physician

33% of people with hypertension don’t know they have it so remember to get screened often. Early recognition can help to reduce long-term damage to vital organs.

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This information is not intended to take the place of medical advice from your physician. Please consult your provider if symptoms persist. For an in-depth explanation of what APWU Health Plan offers please refer to the Plan’s Brochure (RI 71- 004). APWU Health Plan is dedicated to helping you Live Life Well

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If you didn’t receive a card, or if you have any questions about the Health Plan, call the Plan at 1-800-222-2798.