High blood pressure is known as "the silent killer" because it produces no signs or symptoms, so many people are unaware that they have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of 2015, about one-third of the U.S. adult population suffers from the condition, but only about half of those people are treating and controlling the condition.
If high blood pressure remains untreated, it increases the risk of having heart disease or a stroke, both of which are among the top common causes of death in the United States, explains MedicineNet. Kidney damage, blindness and dementia can also result from untreated high blood pressure.
Although high blood pressure typically causes no symptoms, it silently damages the cardiovascular system, states SecondsCount.org. When a person has high blood pressure, his blood exerts excessive force as it travels through the body, and this results in damage to the arteries and heart. If the damaged arteries are to the heart, the condition can cause a heart attack, if they are to the brain, a stroke is possible, and damaged arteries leading to the kidneys can cause kidney disease.
Physically checking blood pressure is the only way to detect the condition, advises SecondsCount.org. Losing weight, engaging in exercise, quitting or refraining from using tobacco, reducing salt intake, and decreasing stress all lower blood pressure and keep it under control. If these interventions do not work, prescription medications can keep blood pressure within recommended limits.