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Why is high blood pressure known as the “silent killer”?


"High blood pressure, or hypertension, is called the 'silent killer' because it often lacks noticeable symptoms and many people don't realize they have it until major medical complications arise," says Irfan Mansuri, M.D., a Family Medicine specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. "It's a dangerous condition, and should be treated promptly because it can lead to a stroke, a heart attack or kidney disease."

Dr. Mansuri says treatment by a qualified physician, usually involving lifestyle changes and drug therapy, can help manage high blood pressure and protect vital organs from damage. Blood pressure is classified as:

  • Optimal: less than 120/80
  • Normal: less than 130/85
  • High normal: 130/85 to 139/89
  • Hypertension: 140/90 and above

"Hypertension is relatively easy to diagnose. Nearly all that's involved is taking the patient's blood pressure," he says. "And it's treatable if the patient is willing to make lifestyle modifications, including maintaining a normal weight; practicing healthy dietary habits, such as reduced salt intake; committing to a moderate exercise regimen; quitting smoking or using any tobacco products; and by having a physician monitor their prescription medication.

"Untreated, hypertension can be fatal. But by working closely with your doctor, you can significantly reduce the chances of falling victim to this 'silent killer,' " concludes Dr. Mansuri, who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Pasadena.

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Irfan Mansuri, MD

​It makes my day if I can help a patient out and relieve their symptoms. It’s a privilege for a patient to give me their trust. I want them to get the best healthcare.