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Pressure Points

October 26, 1998|BARBARA J. CHUCK

What Is It?

It's known as "the silent killer," and for good reason. High blood pressure rarely causes symptoms, but over time can cause serious health problems. However, it often can be controlled.

What, You Worry?

Yes, you should--or at least be aware of how to reduce the risks and how this condition is treated. Some of the illnesses linked to hypertension are heart disease, stroke and damage to other organs.

Get in Practice

Healthy habits can help control blood pressure and keep blood vessels in better shape. Among them:

* Don't smoke. Blood vessels can be damaged.

* Lose excess pounds.

* Exercise at least three times a week. Move briskly for 30 minutes or more each time.

* Manage stress before it raises your blood pressure. Calm yourself with exercise or relaxation. And just say no to unnecessary tasks. Yes, really.

But if Healthy Habits Don't Do the Trick . . .

In some cases, medication may be prescribed. Remember:

* Take it at the same time each day.

* Don't reduce the dose or stop taking your medication--even if you feel fine--without talking to your health care provider.

If you have any questions, talk to your doctor or health care provider. He or she can tell you what blood pressure readings are best for you. Your blood pressure will be taken during regular office visits. If it's suggested to you that you take your readings at home, be sure you're shown exactly how it's done.

Source: Based on information provided by StayWell Co.

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