You may have heard that hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a silent killer. This is because most people who struggle with high blood pressure don’t display any symptoms or warning signs that their health is in trouble. Nearly half of the adults in America have hypertension, though many may be unaware. While these patients may not experience any pain or discomfort, their condition could still be life-threatening. It is our goal to help raise awareness and provide the necessary tools and resources to best identify hypertension in our patients and help them experience long, happy and healthy lives.
What causes hypertension?
Hypertension occurs when the pressure or force of the blood is too high or strong against the walls of the arteries. This is determined by the resistance of blood flow in the arteries as well as the amount of blood that is pumped by the heart. If the amount of blood flow is too high and the arteries too narrow, you will experience high blood pressure which can lead to health complications. Those with hypertension tend to be at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke.
There are two types of hypertension:
- Primary, or essential, hypertension: This is the most common type of hypertension which gradually develops over time.
- Secondary hypertension: This type of hypertension can be more severe and is usually caused by an underlying condition such as thyroid problems, kidney problems, obstructive sleep apnea, congenital defects, adrenal gland tumors, certain medications, and/or illegal drug use.
As previously mentioned, it is not uncommon to have hypertension without any symptoms. Those who do experience symptoms typically have frequent nosebleeds, shortness of breath, and headaches, though symptoms aren’t usually presented until the condition is severe.
It is important to take the appropriate preventative measures to detect high blood pressure as early as possible so your condition can be managed before it progresses to a dangerous level.
Prevention and Treatment
While hypertension can be very serious and even life-threatening, it can be easily detected and there are many steps you can take to reduce your risk. A simple blood pressure reading can gauge whether or not you struggle with hypertension, and can tell your doctor quite a bit about the severity of your condition. This is typically performed anytime you visit your doctor’s office, though many drug stores and pharmacies have equipment available if you wish to check your blood pressure more frequently.
It is important to note that while these resources are helpful and can give you important information about your health, they are not a substitute for visits to your doctor for routine check-ups.
While risk factors such as age and race that are out of your control, there are many risk factors that are easily preventable. Consuming a low-sodium diet, eating plenty of potassium, reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption, and exercising regularly are all steps you can take to help prevent or manage hypertension. Stress can also play a part in high blood pressure, so make time to unwind and relax when possible.
We are proud to provide services to best identify and address this issue in our patients. If you have hypertension, we can help you make the necessary lifestyle changes and prescribe medication to aid in the management of your condition and prevent stroke, heart attack, or other health complications.
For more information on hypertension and our treatment options, contact Innovative Care Medicine today.