Are You At Risk?

 

Given the serious health risks chronically elevated blood-pressure levels pose, as well as the fact that high blood pressure is often undiagnosed, it’s important that you be proactive in knowing your blood pressure. This means not simply relying on your doctor to check your blood pressure during office visits. In fact, such check-ups can fail to provide an accurate indication of your blood pressure due to the fact that blood pressure can spike during the day. Such spikes, if ongoing, pose similar health risks as those of chronically elevated blood pressure.

To more accurately determine blood-pressure levels, a growing number of physicians are advising their patients to use a home blood-pressure-monitoring device. Such devices are now widely available at drug stores and allow anyone to monitor their blood- pressure levels regularly throughout the day.

Knowing the symptoms can also help alert you to whether or not you have high blood pressure. Common symptoms range from difficulty breathing, dizziness or lightheadedness, fatigue, headache, insomnia, and intestinal complaints, as well as emotional instability. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult with your physician to rule out high blood pressure as a contributing factor.

In addition, studies have shown race to be another indicator, as black people have an unexplained higher risk of developing high blood pressure. This was confirmed by statistics compiled by the American Heart Association, which found that black males have more than three times the risk of dying from high blood pressure compared to white men, while the risk for black women compared to white women is more than 200 percent greater.