What is hypertension?
Hypertension is another term for high blood pressure, a common condition that can have serious negative health ramifications. To understand high blood pressure, it helps to think about how your circulatory system works.
Each time your heart beats it pumps blood into your arteries. That places a degree of pressure on your arterial walls. The amount of pressure that occurs during each heartbeat is your systolic blood pressure, and the amount of pressure present in the brief pause between heartbeats is your diastolic blood pressure.
Normal blood pressure measures at less than 120/80 mm Hg. If your blood pressure measures higher than 120/80 but less than 129/80 you have elevated blood pressure. Readings over 130/80 are considered hypertension stage 1, and readings over 140/90 are considered hypertension stage 2.
Why is hypertension so dangerous?
High blood pressure places considerable risk on your cardiovascular system, but the potential damage doesn’t stop there. Over time, high blood pressure can cause damage throughout your body and can eventually lead to disability or even death.
Some of the potential negative effects of hypertension include:
This is far from a comprehensive list. Hypertension can cause widespread harm, and it can affect more than one part of your body.
What can be done to treat hypertension?
The single most powerful thing you can do to get your blood pressure under control is to make an unflinching assessment of your overall health and make changes where needed. If you are overweight or obese, find a program to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
If you’re a smoker, find a way to quit the habit for good. Increase your physical activity levels, and work to find ways to reduce stress in your life. Get plenty of quality rest. Limit your alcohol intake, and cut back on caffeine.
Medications can also help control your blood pressure. There are many different types of drugs from which to choose, and it may take a period of trial and error to find the medication plan that’s best for you.
If you’re already taking other medications, your specialist at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Arlington works to help you find options that won’t interfere or react with your current drug therapy.
When you’re ready to take the first step in lowering your blood pressure, schedule an appointment online or over the phone.