Anyone Can Have Hypertension and Not Know It
Since you can’t feel your blood pressure, high blood pressure often goes unnoticed– and one in three adults suffers from hypertension – half without knowing. That’s a problem, because it increases risk for early death from heart disease and stroke. There’s more: the annual cost associated with high blood pressure is $50 billion, and that’s a lot – equal to one fifth of the healthcare spendings in the UK.
What is high blood pressure? Your heart pumps blood through your body in much the same way the water company pumps water to each house. But there’s a critical difference: The pipes to your house can handle nearly any pressure, but the vessels in your body cannot – and that can cost your life.
Diagnosis and treatment both begin with monitoring, which requires keeping track of blood pressure. The age-old “cuff” method – the common way to do it, so far – forces people to stop what they’re doing several times a day. As a result, they typically take only a few readings a week, if that. Even worse, nervousness about a “bad” reading can make them afraid to check at all.