Medical Minute: High Blood Pressure

By: Casey Taylor
By: Casey Taylor

Edwin Mendez gets wired up to work out. Twelve years ago, Edwin found out he has high blood pressure. He was 35.

"It took me by surprise when the doctor told me about it, it looks like you’re heading in the wrong direction as far as your high blood pressure," Edwin says.

Fifty million Americans have high blood pressure. Half don't know about it. Cardiologist John Dormois says high blood pressure has no symptoms, but it does have many myths surrounding it.

Many people believe high blood pressure happens later in life.

"We've revised some of our recommendations, the American Heart Association and others, about when do you start looking for high blood pressure, and really it needs to be started when kids are in grade school," says Dr. John Dormis.

Many people also falsely believe that salt causes high blood pressure.

"If someone has high blood pressure, then a high-salt diet will certainly aggravate it. But, you can't induce high blood pressure in a person who wouldn't otherwise have it by just eating a lot of salt."

Race also affects your risk for high blood pressure. Blacks have the highest risk. Edwin admits he didn't take his high blood pressure seriously, but a heart attack two years ago changed that.

Now he has his blood pressure checked often and he exercises regularly. He's also improved his diet, and he's keeping this silent killer in check.

For more information, contact:

St. Joseph's Hospital, Tampa

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