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Silent But Deadly

by Perry Whetzel

My family has a lengthy history of high blood pressure that has been the underlying cause of
strokes and chronic illness. I have witnessed many family members struggle to maintain their
hypertension, and eventually, fall victim to the debilitating effects of strokes. These strokes have
resulted in temporary loss of movement and speech with lengthy rehabilitation to
catastrophic brain damage with loss of life. High blood pressure is often viewed as a common
condition with minor symptoms. However, I have learned that hypertension can lead to many
serious diseases that cause severe ailments and even death. My family has been plagued with
strokes and heart disease caused by hypertension that have greatly diminished their quality of
life. Observing the rapid decline of my loved ones who are affected by high blood pressure has
piqued my interest in the prevention and management of hypertension.

High blood pressure is categorized as having a blood pressure higher than 130/80 mmHg (1).
Almost half of the adults living in the United States have been diagnosed with hypertension (1).
High blood pressure was listed as the primary or contributing cause of over half a million deaths
in the United States in 2019 (1). High blood pressure also substantially increases the risk for
severe conditions such as heart disease and stroke (1). Hypertension has been deemed the
“silent killer” because in many cases there are no noticeable symptoms (2). Acquiring the
proper treatment to manage high blood pressure is crucial in preventing serious illnesses that
can develop (2). Sex and race can also impact the risk for hypertension (1). Men are more
affected by high blood pressure than women, and African American adults are more susceptible
to hypertension than Caucasian adults (1). High blood pressure has been labeled the most
prominent risk factor for strokes because it contributes to nearly half of stroke cases (3). The
continued strain on the blood vessels due to hypertension can damage them or cause them to
rupture, significantly increasing the risk of stroke (3). People should be educated about the
effects, treatments, and prevention of hypertension because this condition is extremely
common and is causing devastation all over the world.

The International Society of Hypertension (ISH) is a non-profit organization dedicated to
promoting research to aid in the prevention of serious disease and death as a result of high
blood pressure (4). Their goal is to decrease the global devastation of hypertension and lower
the number of individuals affected by this condition (4). To achieve their goal, they are working
to reach out to the public and offer information about ways to prevent, treat, and manage high
blood pressure (4). They are also working to fund research efforts that will encourage
innovations and advancements in the treatment of hypertension (4). Once developments have
been made, they share these updates with the public so they can receive the most up-to-date
information (4). The International Society of Hypertension focuses on uniting people together
to educate the masses and create a large following, all concentrated on lowering the frequency
of hypertension and related diseases (4). Organizations such as ISH, which are conducting
research, sharing information, and focusing specifically on hypertension, are highly impactful in making advancements that will lessen the burden the high blood pressure has caused worldwide.

High blood pressure is a prevalent disease with potentially deadly consequences. While it often
appears “silent,” it can be fatal. Hypertension is known as the “silent killer” because of the
serious illnesses associated with high blood pressure. One of the best ways to reduce your risk
of high blood pressure is to keep a check on your levels. Monitoring your blood pressure can
help early identification, slowing the progression substantially. Communicating with your
doctor about your concerns and monitoring your levels are crucial in preventing this condition.
The risk for stroke and heart disease increases considerably when you are diagnosed with
hypertension. Organizations that support research and innovation can be influential in easing
the devastation of high blood pressure. The International Society of Hypertension is an example
of how these organizations can improve the issue. They have supported research, spread
awareness, and created a following all focused on reducing the number of individuals
diagnosed with hypertension (4). You can also do your part to help decrease the death caused
by high blood pressure. Please take a couple minutes out of your day to visit this website,
https://ish-world.com/campaigns/donate/, and donate to the International Society of
Hypertension. Your donation will help them continue conducting research and make
advancements that will help eliminate the burden that high blood pressure has caused
worldwide.

Resources:

  1. Facts About Hypertension. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm
  2. The Facts About High Blood Pressure. American Heart Association.
    https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-
    blood-pressure
  3. High Blood Pressure. Stroke Association. https://www.stroke.org.uk/what-is-stroke/are-
    you-at-risk-of-stroke/high-blood-pressure
  4. About ISH. International Society of Hypertension. https://ish-world.com/about-ish/

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