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Beware High Blood Pressure-It will Kill You & You Won't See It Coming

Updated on April 4, 2012

Type A Aortic Dissection - The Silent Killer

It’s often referred to as the “silent killer” and it’s only by some form of divine intervention that it didn’t kill me.

I’m talking about high blood pressure.

According to recent estimates, nearly one in three adults in the industrial nations is likely to have high blood pressure, but because there are no symptoms, nearly one-third of these people don't know they have it. In fact, many people have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. The only way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure. Hence high blood pressure is often called the "silent killer."

As I got into my forties I very occasionally chanced to get my blood pressure checked. It was usually on the high side. I would usually say things like “well I have ‘white coat syndrome’ so of course it is high. It’s always high when taken by a doctor”. And in fact if I had it taken at the local chemist it was usually a bit lower, so I wasn’t worried. Besides I didn’t want to be taking tablets for the rest of my life!

I didn’t go to the doctor very often. I was healthy and never had the need. I didn’t smoke, only drank now and then. However, on the rare occasions that I did visit the doctor, he would point out that I may be healthy but I certainly wasn’t fit!

Anyway this particular doctor was so concerned about me that after I left the district he sent me a prescription for blood pressure tablets!

I took them for a while, but I couldn’t see the point. OK, so my blood pressure may be a bit high, but I felt fine. There was nothing wrong with me. I had no symptoms. Hardly ever went to see a GP.

One night I drove home from work. I had been working a late shift so I got home around midnight. Had a glass of wine, checked my emails, as you do…………

First it was just awareness. The beautiful smiling face of my wife, brightly coloured in a sea of gray. It seems we had been talking for a while, though I don’t know what I had said. Penny’s voice is full of love and joy and encouragement.

I have no context to put it in so I just accept it in the now. There is only now. I have no past. The future is not contemplated. I see my daughter’s face and hear words of love, joy and encouragement. I am doing exceptionally well. With regards to what, I wonder? I gradually become aware of the ICU bed and the tubes and the wires and the oxygen mask. And it is all so normal. I’ve always been like this.

I had suffered an aortic dissection. It had been caused by years of high blood pressure. The main blood vessel serving my vital organs had split and was blocking the blood supply and my aortic valve was damaged. But by some miracle I was alive.

The fact that I am writing this piece is one of a series of miracles.

The fact that my youngest daughter was visiting us, sleeping on the lounge but not asleep and heard me fall is a miracle. The fact that I made alive to the hospital was a miracle as well as a testament to the skills of the paramedics who kept me alive. The fact that I survived the eight hour operation is another miracle and a testament to the skills of the surgeons and medical staff. The fact that I was found in time, survived the journey to the hospital, the operation and had no brain or organ damage is another miracle. I am very lucky. Most are not.

I am now on four different blood pressure tablets and will be for the rest of my life. However long that is!

Because my vascular system is weakened and damaged, I have to make sure that I average a blood pressure of less than 120/70 and I get yelled at if I pick my grandchildren up because that sort of muscular activity increases blood pressure.

But then, at least I am still here to be yelled at!

As you get older, keeping blood pressure in check is fundamental if you want a long and happy life.

The moral is, take your blood pressure seriously. Get some high blood pressure fact, buy yourself a BP meter, talk to your doctor, be proactive. It’s your life.

Prevention is simple. The results of ignorance often can only be rectified by divine intervention.

I think that a part of every first aid kit should be a blood pressure monitor. They are very easy to operate and the home ones are quite inexpensive.

What is your blood pressure now?


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    • Duranki profile image

      Duranki 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hi Jerry,

      Thank you for correcting me. I had no idea this was the case. The American health system always seems to get a bad rap in the rest of the world.

    • profile image

      Jerry 5 years ago

      LOL! Hospitals in the USA can't refuse you a life-saving surgery due to lack of insurance. They have to do what's required to save your life, regardless. It's afterwards when the hospital hits you with the bill, and usually it's at a steep discount if you have no money.

    • Duranki profile image

      Duranki 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I am very sorry for you loss Susana. 65 is a bit young to die. You seem to be angry. Personally I believe that, at some level, we all chose our time of leaving. It seems he chose to go quickly with no pain or debilitation, so all there is to do is to respect your father's choice and remember him with love. As for me, I can assure you I take and monitor my meds very diligently.


    • profile image

      susana 6 years ago

      My father died 3 weeks ago due to high blood pressure. The doctor had doubled his meds, but the stubborn man stopped taking it about a month later because he felt fine. He suddenly dropped while gardening on a hillside, and died. By the time paramedics arrived it was too late. I hope you continue to take your meds, your family deserves to have you around as long as possible!! My father was only 65 years old.

    • profile image

      georgebutt 6 years ago

      My blood pressure was on an average 150/90 and higher on 2mg of Mavik.It remained high due to lifesyle, mainly excessive drinking and eating. Now i have change my lifestyle, eating healthy, exercising, and losing 25lbs, my blood pressure is down to an average of 117/75, pulse average 60.I asked my Doctor to lower my BP medication but refused and wanted to wait another month to see where my blood pressure went. Is he right or should i seek another Doctor for advice?

    • Duranki profile image

      Duranki 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hi G. Hemanath and jagdeep,

      I'm glad I can help.

      The bottom line is however you do it, drugs, herbs or diet, get your dad's blood pressure down!

      Also, if you can, get a blood pressure monitor. They are not very expensive and could just save your life. I have a link to one at the end of the article.

      I have more information and resources at



    • profile image

      jagdeep litt 7 years ago

      thanks for this story my dad just got high blood pressure and the doctor told him he has to take medication. i was just searching around to see if it is serious and after reading your article i know blood pressure is a serioss issue thanks for yor story

    • profile image

      G.Hemanath  7 years ago

      , thanks everybody , i was so confused about my dad's Blood pressure before reading this. . Now i had a clear view to handle that problem . . .

    • Duranki profile image

      Duranki 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hi Joetta,

      Sorry it's taken 9 months to reply.

      Yes you should be very alarmed, if indeed you are still alive!!

      There are plenty of medications available to bring your BP down to an acceptable level. By your comments I assume you live in the USA. Your medical system appears not to favour those who can't afford doctors. However you do it you must get some BP medications to bring your BP down or you will suffer the same fate as me. I am very lucky that I live in Australia. If I was in the USA, I would be dead now because I would not have been able to afford the operation that saved my life.

      Bottom line - get your blood pressure down!

      Get Googling because there are foods the will reduce blood pressure including garlic.


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      joetta days 9 years ago

      my blood pressure has been extremely high for about ten years it averages 219/130 i lost my job and cant go to my normal doctor i went to the emergency room several times and the doctor told me i wont live long with my blood pressure but i don't feel bad should i be alarmed or what

    • Duranki profile image

      Duranki 9 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thank you for your comments, Annette. One of the things that keeps me focused on longevity and keeping healthy is my determination to be at my granddaughters 21st birthday party. That will be in 13 years time. Mind you I've since extended that to be at the 21st party for my other twin grandchildren which will be in 16 years time.


    • profile image

      Annette Weaver 9 years ago

      I hated the fact that I too have to take blood pressure medication for the rest of my life. However, although I only take one tablet a day...its the best little tablet in the world. After reading your story, I am certainly glad I did not let my normal stubborness get in the way..I have witness the birth of my new granddaughter, with gave me the reason to always follow doctor's order and pray that God allows me life to see her grow up to be a beautiful, successful young woman. Thank you for sharing and thank you for reminding me the importance of taking that little tablet "everyday!"