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NewsLine
4.30.13

High Blood Pressure

The incidence of high blood pressure is increasing in the U.S. and could lead to more heart disease and strokes in Americans in the coming years.

Nearly one third of adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure according to the American Heart Association.   High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is associated with many complications including stroke, heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.  Dr. Susan Hingle, associate professor of internal medicine at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, says usually there are no symptoms.

“Most people don’t have symptoms with high blood pressure, but some symptoms that might make you think that someone has undiagnosed high blood pressure would be headaches, dizzy spells, chest pain, fluttering of the heart, swelling in the legs, things along those lines.  So if you have those symptoms and those are new symptoms for you, that’s definitely worth having your blood pressure checked by your doctor.”

Dr. Hingle says a normal blood pressure reading is 120 over 80, but will vary depending on an individual’s health conditions.  After receiving a diagnosis of high blood pressure from a physician, it needs to be monitored very closely at home or in a physician’s office.  She offers advice for home monitoring. 

“Home monitoring is actually very accurate now.  So it is recommended that people do monitor their blood pressure at home because that is more reflective of the normal environment in which they live and exist.  So that’s what we really need to pay attention to.”

Dr. Hingle recommends that people who have high blood pressure make lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables, reducing salt intake and managing one’s weight.  They should see their primary care physician for evaluation and possible treatment.

Ruth Slottag