High Blood Pressure [NorthOaks.tv]
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High Blood Pressure [NorthOaks.tv]

October 9, 2019


Blood pressure is the force of blood
pushing against the walls of the arteries. When this pressure gets too high, we refer to
it as hypertension, or high blood pressure. This is a serious
condition that can lead to: heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, or other serious
medical problems if left untreated. You may have heard high blood pressure
referred to as the “silent killer.” The reason for this is because most
patients are actually completely asymptomatic. Some symptoms that you may experience,
however, are: headache, dizziness, and blurred vision. But keep in mind that most patients may
not even realize that they suffer from high blood pressure until they suffer from more serious
complications such as heart attack or stroke. There are several risk factors for high
blood pressure. Some of those risk factors include: age,
gender, obesity, inactivity, ethnicity, and family history. As you increase in
age, your risk for developing high blood pressure increases as well. Males are also more likely to develop
high blood pressure than females. If you have any immediate family members
who suffer from high blood pressure, your risk may be increased from that. And
also, certain ethnic groups have higher chances of developing high blood pressure, such as African-Americans, Asians, and
Hispanics. Again, remember, most patients with high
blood pressure are completely asymptomatic. Therefore,
high blood pressure is usually diagnosed at a health screening or at your
primary care physician’s office with routine blood pressure checks.
That’s why it’s so important to follow up with your primary care physician
regularly. A normal blood pressure is considered
less than 120 over 80. However, if you have blood pressure
readings that are consistently higher than this, you may be diagnosed with high blood
pressure. We usually consider hypertension a blood pressure reading as at least 140
over 90, and many times even higher. The first step in treating high blood
pressure is what we call lifestyle modification.
This includes adhering to a healthy diet, which usually we recommend decreasing
the sodium in your diet. My preference is to eat less than 2,000
milligrams, or two grams, of sodium a day. That’s one teaspoon of salt a day. We also
recommend having a diet high in fruits and vegetables and fiber. There’s a diet called the DASH diet, or
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which I recommend to most of my patients
who suffer from high blood pressure. Other things that can help lower blood
pressure is regular exercise. I recommend at least 30 to 60 minutes of
moderate aerobic exercise a day for most patients; however, you should
consult your doctor before making these kind of changes. I also recommend decreasing your daily
alcohol intake, and also making every attempt to quit
smoking. If your blood pressure is unable to be
controlled with these measures, sometimes you may require medications to help
treat your blood pressure, which of course would be done under the
supervision of your primary care doctor. Getting your blood pressure under
control is very important. Although you may be feeling fine, keep in
mind that again, blood pressure can still be causing serious damage to your body. So it’s very important to follow up with
your health care provider, and take any medications that have been
prescribed to you as instructed. In most cases, high blood pressure can be
managed by your primary care physician. If you have particular difficulties
managing high blood pressure, you may also require the assistance of a
cardiologist, and in some cases, even a kidney doctor. If you do not currently have a primary care
provider, North Oaks would be happy to assist you.

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