Silent Killers

Spring 2011 CSANews Issue 78  |  Posted date : May 06, 2011.Back to list

Difficult diagnoses aren't the only things that can risk your health; some diseases don't have symptoms at all, and are dubbed "silent killers."

The most well-known of all silent killers is high blood pressure, or hypertension. Unless your blood pressure is extremely high, the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to measure it. Your blood pressure should be lower than 140/90 (130/80 for diabetics). If you get a high reading, you should monitor it carefully; if you get consistent high readings, visit your doctor to manage the condition properly. High blood pressure can cause strokes and heart attacks, and is a leading cause of kidney failure.

Another silent killer is type 2 diabetes. Because of its gradual onset, you may not notice its subtle symptoms - more frequent urination, increased hunger and thirst, fatigue and slight weight loss. If you think that you are showing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about a glucose tolerance test. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes can often be managed by diet and exercise; if left unchecked, type 2 diabetics can eventually become dependent on medications or, eventually, insulin. Diabetes doubles the risk of vascular problems, including cardiovascular disease.

The last silent killer about which we want to warn you is high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). High cholesterol itself is completely asymptomatic, and can only be diagnosed through an evaluation by your doctor. Your cholesterol levels should be lower than 5.2 mmo/L (250 mgms in the U.S.). In some cases, high cholesterol can be controlled by diet, but medication may be necessary. 

High cholesterol is a major risk factor of heart disease.

Make sure that you tell your doctor about even the most minor symptoms or changes to your health. It could save your life!