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High blood pressure known as silent killer, but don’t ignore its sometimes subtle symptoms

March 16, 2012
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Medical experts have warned for decades that high blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a silent killer with few obvious symptoms. The only way to know for sure whether you have the condition is to monitor your blood pressure over time to see whether it’s substantially above normal (120 over 80).

I would guess that most men are pretty casual about such warnings. I know that I was. Though I had some heart difficulties several years back, my general health recently had been excellent. Why in the world would I check my blood pressure with any regularity? And even when it was tested during semiannual doctor visits, higher than normal blood pressure readings were usually attributed (by me) to temporary stress or a heavy lunch with wine. Nothing to worry about, right?

Over the last several months, however, I began to notice some subtle changes in the way that I felt, particularly during moderate physical activity. I did seem to tire more quickly than normal. Often my head felt “thick” and I also noticed that my eyes did not focus quite as sharply; my distance vision seemed slightly blurred.

Did any of these symptoms set off alarm bells that something serious was going on? Not really. I continued to do my yard work at home, play golf with my street buddies, and write occasional public policy articles for various newspapers and websites. After all, I still felt reasonably well (does anyone feel perfectly well?) and I assumed that my age was just catching up with me.

Two recent developments changed my attitude. The first is not easy to write about but is, nonetheless, an important warning: I noticed that my urine was increasingly discolored and had developed a strong odor. Not good. And second, I began to get headaches. I have NO history of headaches. None. I can’t ever recall having one until about one month ago. The head pressure would start on the right side and extend into my right eye. Now, what the heck was that all about?

Medical experts say that high blood pressure is a “silent” killer with no definitive symptoms. Even headaches, they say, are not necessarily correlated with an elevated blood pressure. I’m not a medical doctor but in my case I say “baloney” to all of that. I had all sorts of clues that increasingly warned me that something in my body was slightly askew. And the accumulation of these abnormalities finally led me to a definitive medical evaluation that confirmed that my blood pressure was dangerously high and had to be treated.

Since the treatment began, the improvement in my overall well-being has been remarkable. The headaches are gone; my vision has cleared; my urine is back to normal; and my energy levels have increased dramatically. I feel alert and focused. What I had called “getting old” was, instead, life-threatening hypertension.

High blood pressure symptoms may be reasonably silent, but if you listen carefully enough you may well detect something that can save your life. Men, not especially good listeners anyway, must make a doubly-concerted effort to listen to their body signals more intelligently; and when they detect a series of dangerous clues, they should go and get some help. And just in the nick of time, perhaps, I did.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/mar/15/dom-armentano-high-blood-pressure-known-as-but/?partner=yahoo_feeds

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