Healthy Living: High blood pressure
It's known as a silent killer, but thankfully it can be avoided if the necessary precautions are taken. YNN's Health Reporter Casey Bortnick has more on high blood pressure.
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"I was headed towards a fast track to diabetes," said Terence Kazlow, a high blood pressure patient.
As a teenager, Terence was overweight at about 260 pounds. When doctors told him his health was at risk, Terence admits he didn't listen.
"It had no effect. when you're a young kid you aren't thinking about the future you're thinking about the now," said Kazlow.
According to a new study, Terence isn't alone. Thousands of people living in Upstate New York continue to put their health at risk even being diagnosed with high blood pressure.
"It leads to heart attacks, it leads to strokes, it leads to kidney failure," said Dr. Carl Devore, from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield said these life threatening and costly conditions can be avoided if this diagnosis leads to lifestyle changes.
"If people normalize their body weight the diagnosis of high blood pressure would go away in most cases," said Dr. Devore.
"People don't like giving up the things they like," said Dr. Howard Beckman, of Geriatric Medicine.
Dr. Beckman said old habits are hard to break. Dr. Beckman is part of a collaborative effort to change the way high blood pressure is treated in the Finger Lakes area. He said simply doing a better job tracking the problem is the first step.
"If you can pretend like there's not a problem then you'll treat it as not a problem," said Dr. Beckman.
Once confronted with this silent killer, Dr. Beckman said most people will make a change.
"It breaks through denial, which clearly in my practice is the most powerful coping mechanism people have," said Dr. Beckman.
It's been 22 years and Terence is in good health. "It was an epiphany actually is what it took," said Kazlow.
For those who need more than a serious warning, Terence said the right motivation to make change is there if you know where to look.
"That's why it has to come from within. You have to really want to make that life change. Otherwise it's something that's never going to happen," said Kazlow.