Many people who have hypertension – or high blood pressure – don’t know it. It usually has no symptoms. Between 20 and 50 percent of natural deaths can be linked to this silent killer.

When you have hypertension, your blood vessels become constricted, causing your heart to pump harder to push blood through your body. That, in turn, makes your blood press with greater force against vessel walls. Over time, fatty deposits may build up, hardening your arteries. Your heart must labor even harder to pump blood through hardened arteries.

Obesity, smoking, diabetes, taking birth control pills and a high-fat, high-salt diet are among the factors that can lead to high blood pressure.

Some risk factors – like being male or having a family history of early heart attack or stroke – are inherited. AIM has the expertise and equipment to identify your risk of high blood pressure and to help you cope if you have it.

Sometimes, the disease can be managed by lifestyle changes. In other cases, medication may be prescribed. You can count on AIM to help you keep your blood pressure under control.

For more information, visit MEDLINEplus.

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