High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.
Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
High blood pressure generally develops over many years, and it affects nearly everyone eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it.
And the reason it is considered a silent killer?
Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels.
A few people with high blood pressure may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds, but these signs and symptoms aren't specific and usually don't occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.
So please make sure to monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause heart attack, strokes, heart damage or kidney disease.
What Is Kidney Disease?The kidneys are two organs located in your midsection on either side of your spine in the middle of your back, just above the waist. They clean your blood, keep the balance of salt and minerals in your blood, and help control blood pressure.
When your kidneys are damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in your body, causing swelling in your ankles, vomiting, weakness, poor sleep, and shortness of breath. If you don't treat them, diseased kidneys may eventually stop working completely. Loss of kidney function is a serious -- and potentially fatal -- condition.
And why is this considered a silent killer? Well, like in my husband's case, he contributed the signs of kidney disease to his high blood pressure (you see how the two are so closely connected to each other? High blood pressure can cause kidney disease, or kidney disease can cause high blood pressure.) So by the time he was diagnosed, he is in Stage 5 Kidney Disease and weeks away from dialysis, and needs a kidney transplant, but never knew he had kidney disease.
So what do you look for?
Effects and symptoms of chronic kidney disease include:
- need to urinate frequently, especially at night (nocturia);
- swelling of the legs and puffiness around the eyes (fluid retention);
- high blood pressure;
- fatigue and weakness (from anemia or accumulation of waste products in the body);
- loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting;
- itching, easy bruising, and pale skin (from anemia);
- shortness of breath from fluid accumulation in the lungs;
- headaches, numbness in the feet or hands (peripheral neuropathy), disturbed sleep, altered mental status (encephalopathy from the accumulation of waste products or uremic poisons), and restless legs syndrome;
- chest pain due to pericarditis(inflammation around the heart);
- bleeding (due to poor blood clotting);
- bone pain and fractures; and
- decreased sexual interest and erectile dysfunction
But the problem is, these symptoms don't show up until after it is too late! Some things I have learned in the last few weeks to look for are:
Protein or blood in your urine
Severe leg cramps
All of which my husband has had for years, and nobody thought to let him know this should be looked at, especially with his high blood pressure.
Some other things to avoid, as they are very hard on your kidneys:
High Sodium Foods
BC or Goodies Powders
These are just some of the things that you should avoid to help protect your kidneys. Things that are important to maintain your kidneys is drinking plenty of water and cranberry juice, keep your kidneys healthy, because the last thing you want is to have to be on dialysis and put on the kidney transplant waiting list. There are 100,000 people right now on the waiting list to receive a kidney transplant!!! Here in Florida, where we will be put on the list there are 9,000 people waiting. Do you want to have to wait years, that whole time doing dialysis to keep you alive, hoping to get the phone call that they have a kidney for you?
So, did you know about these silent killers? What will you do to try to prevent yourself from getting one of them yourself? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Please take care of yourselves, and get yearly physicals, you never know it just may save your life!!!!