Understanding Hypertension

“Why me? I hardly ever eat salt! I work out everyday. I feel fine!”

The Facts: These are some of the reactions that are commonly heard when a patient is diagnosed with hypertension. Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, is a blood pressure that is higher than normal. According to the CDC, only 1 in 4 people who have hypertension has the condition under control and over a half-million deaths in the United States have been primarily attributed to hypertension.

What is Blood Pressure? Blood Pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, however it can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays high for a long period of time. 

The Diagnosis: In 2017, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association published new guidelines for hypertension management and defined hypertension as a blood pressure at or above 130/80 mm Hg. The most effective way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked during an office visit. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to problems such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure or kidney failure. It is rare for there to be a single cause of hypertension as factors like genetics and age can also contribute to hypertension.

The Risk: High blood pressure risk is increased with age, race, family history, excessive weight. diet, alcohol use and stress! High blood pressure is usually symptomless which is why it has been dubbed the “Silent Killer.” 

Now What? Your commitment is the first step towards great blood pressure control. Tackling modifiable risk factors for high blood pressure, for example, losing weight and getting more exercise, and eating healthier can be very beneficial! Making even small lifestyle changes can have a profound effect on your blood pressure.

Hypertension is highly treatable and early intervention and treatment leads to better outcomes. Schedule a blood pressure screening today to assess your numbers and take control of your health!