The silent killer is the nickname given by medical professionals to high blood pressure (hypertension). The reason is because this disease usually has no visible signs, taking the victim by surprise only when serious complications are already present. High Blood Pressure is responsible, according to the World Health Organization, for about 7.5 million deaths yearly. It is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, heart failure, ischemic, as well as hemorrhagic stroke and renal failure, just to mention some.
- First heart attack: About 7 of every 10 people having their first heart attack has high blood pressure.
- First stroke: About 8 of every 10 people having their first stroke have high blood pressure.
- Chronic (long lasting) heart failure: About 7 of every 10 people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure.
What is High Blood Pressure or Hypertension?
Simply put, blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the blood vessels. The pressure originates from the amount of blood pumped by the heart and the resistance, lack of elasticity or narrowing, of the blood vessels. The higher the volume of blood and the narrower the blood vessels, the higher the blood pressure.
Blood pressure is measured in two numbers, an upper and lower number, such as 120/80. The higher “systolic” number measures blood pressure when the heart beats, and the lower, or “diastolic,” number measures the pressure when the heart relaxes.
Blood Pressure Levels
- Systolic: less than 120 mmHg
- Diastolic: less than 80 mmHg
At Risk (Prehypertension)
- Systolic: 120–139 mmHg
- Diastolic: 80–89 mmHg
- Systolic: 140 mmHg or higher
- Diastolic: 90 mmHg or higher
What are the risk factors for hypertension?
- Age – Risk increases with age
- Race – Risk is higher among Blacks
- Family History – It does have a genetic factor
- Weight – Risk increase with obesity
- Physical Activity – Risk increase with sedentary life
- Using tobacco – Tobacco increases blood pressure immediately temporarily. However, it is known that the chemicals in tobacco damage the lining of the blood vessels wall.
- Diet – Excess salt or sodium and lack of potassium: Sodium causes the body to retain fluids, increasing blood pressure; potassium balances the sodium in the body.
- Alcohol – Heavy drinking can damage the heart.
- Stress – Stressful situations may raise blood pressure temporarily and lead to unhealthy behaviors (excess eating, drinking, lack of sleep, etc.).
- Chronic conditions – Some conditions increase risk of high blood pressure, like diabetes and sleep apnea.
What to do to prevent hypertension?
Although, it is true that a person cannot control all of the risk factors for high blood pressure, changes in a person’s lifestyle, such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising or no smoking, can help prevent or control high blood pressure and, ultimately, avoid complications.
To learn more, download “Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure” from the US National Institute of Health.
UNDERWRITING FOR HYPERTENSION:
A client diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure CAN BE APPROVED. However, it must be evaluated by our underwriting department. For this, the producer must submit the “Heart and Cardiovascular Questionnaire.” Remember: For clients 65 or older, the “Attending Physician Statement” must be submitted also with the application. You can download the necessary documents and forms from LyncOne.
Depending on the severity of the disease, complications and control, the applicant may be approved without restrictions (standard) or with exclusions or restrictions, which can also be temporary if the client condition improves. Comorbidity of diabetes and hypertension, regardless of severity, is an AUTOMATIC REJECTION.