Did you know more than 30 percent of American adults have high blood pressure? High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the most common cardiovascular disease. This disease increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, so it is especially important to understand what high blood pressure is, as well as the causes, treatments and how you can prevent it.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against artery walls as it flows through the body. Similar to air in a tire or water in a hose, blood fills the arteries to a certain capacity — but too much blood pressure can threaten healthy arteries, potentially causing heart disease and stroke.
How Is Blood Pressure Measured?
If you have ever had your blood pressure taken, your nurse or doctor read two numbers. These numbers represent systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The latter represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests in between beats.
Normal blood pressure in infants is around 90/60 and 120/80 in adults. However, blood pressure can fall and rise (during and after exercise or during an emotional time for example) without being cause for alarm. Blood pressure also varies from person to person, but when an individual experiences blood pressure that is consistently high, it can damage the blood vessels, brain, eyes, kidneys and heart.
What Is Considered High Blood Pressure?
Individuals whose blood pressure readings are 140/90 or higher on two occasions are said to have high blood pressure. For individuals over 60, blood pressure readings 150/90 or higher are considered high.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer because it seldom causes symptoms, even while the conditions is damaging the body. While there is a common misconception that people with high blood pressure experience symptoms such as nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping and facial flushing, the condition remains largely symptomless.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
There are two types of high blood pressure, primary and secondary. Primary hypertension has no identifiable cause and tends to gradually develops over many years. Secondary hypertension tends to appear suddenly and is caused by an underlying condition. These underlying conditions may include:
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Alcohol abuse
- Blood vessel defects
- Illegal drug use
- Kidney problems
- Medications, including birth control pills, etc.
- Obstructive sleep apnea
Complications of High Blood Pressure
If left untreated, high blood pressure can cause a variety of problems including:
- Heart Attack
- Heart Failure
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Trouble with memory and understanding
- Weakened and narrowed blood vessels
High Blood Pressure Treatment
Lifestyle changes can significantly help control high blood pressure. Eating a diet rich in whole foods with minimal salt and processed foods, combined with regular exercise is often recommended. Sometimes lifestyle changes are not enough and medication may be recommended.
High Blood Pressure Care In Clearwater and Tampa, Florida
At All Care, we understand the complexities of high blood pressure. We also understand the impact high blood pressure can have on your life. That’s why we strive to provide the best in high blood pressure care for every patient. We have the experience and resources necessary to help you live your healthiest life. Contact us today to learn more about our services, or to schedule your appointment.