Hypertension is the clinical term for high blood pressure, which affects millions of Americans and not just those who work under constant stress. In fact, anyone can get hypertension. And it’s a condition that puts you at a higher risk for life-threatening events, such as a heart attack or stroke. Hypertension treatment is available at Century Medical and Dental Center in Brooklyn. Talk to an experienced doctor about your options. Call today.
A common condition, hypertension results when the force of your blood pounding against your artery walls becomes high enough to cause serious health problems, such as heart disease. Measuring how much blood your heart pumps and the resistance in your arteries, your internal medicine doctor near me specialist at Century Medical and Dental Center may diagnose high blood pressure.
You may find you’ve had high blood pressure for years without realizing it because you felt no outward symptoms. But internal damage to your heart and blood vessels results from this long-term force and resistance. If untreated, hypertension can cause strokes, heart attacks or other health concerns.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 75 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. Often, the condition is due to blood vessel obstructions or a general decline in their resiliency. Hypertension is easily detected and can be managed with education, lifestyle changes and possibly medication.
You may be surprised to learn that you have hypertension. Most people have few or no symptoms. If you do suspect high blood pressure, you may experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of fatigue or jitteriness
Your doctor takes your blood pressure in one or both arms at your annual physical exam, especially after you turn 40. If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension before, your doctor may recommend a home cuff or using a public blood pressure machine at your local pharmacy on a regular basis.
Causes of Pulmonary Hypertension
When your arteries are too narrow for the volume of blood pumping through them, the higher resistance increases the pressure. If you’re middle-aged, high blood pressure probably developed over time without an identifiable cause. Some people may develop hypertension from an underlying condition. This type of hypertension often appears suddenly instead of creeping up, as primary hypertension usually does. Some potential causes include:
- Tumors on the adrenal gland
- Problems with your kidneys
- Congenital defects in your blood vessels
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Problems with your thyroid
- Taking illegal drugs, such as amphetamines and cocaine
- Some medications, such as cold remedy pills, birth control pills, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
Stages of Hypertension
If your doctor diagnoses you with hypertension, he also has to determine which category your blood pressure measurements fit. The stages of the condition are:
- Normal. Your blood pressure is at or below 120/80 — the systolic or pressure in your arteries as your heart beats over diastolic or pressure between your heartbeats.
- Elevated. The systolic pressure measures between 120 and 129 while the diastolic remains below 80.
- Stage 1 hypertension Your systolic pressure measures 130 to 139 or your diastolic pressure hovers between 80 and 89.
- Stage 2 hypertension. This happens when you have a systolic pressure of 140 or higher or a diastolic reading of 90 or higher.
The higher the stage, the more danger you’re in. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to multiple health concerns, such as:
- The danger of a stroke, heart attack or heart failure
- Weakened or narrowed vessels in your kidneys
- An aneurysm
- Torn or thickened vessels in your eye
- Metabolic syndrome
- Dementia or other memory or cognitive problems
Who’s at Risk of Hypertension?
Some women fight high blood pressure during pregnancy. You may be at higher risk for hypertension if you:
- Are older
- Have a family history of the condition
- Are of African heritage
- Fight weight gain
- Don’t exercise regularly
- Consume too much salt
- Use tobacco
- Drink too much alcohol
- Don’t get enough potassium in your diet
- Deal with frequent stress
High Blood Pressure Treatment
Your Brooklyn doctor can treat your high blood pressure through lifestyle changes and medication. Treatment options include:
- Getting regular physical activity to strengthen your heart muscle
- Consuming a heart-healthy diet that’s low in salt
- Drinking minimal or no alcohol
- Working to maintain a healthy weight so you put less stress on the cardiovascular system
- Diuretics or water pills that help eliminate excess sodium
- Calcium channel blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to relax your blood vessels and slow your heart
- Angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) for those with chronic kidney disease
Your doctor may also prescribe complementing medication to help increase the effects, including vasodilators, renin inhibitors, aldosterone antagonists, central-acting agents or alpha, alpha-beta, or beta blockers. Because secondary hypertension comes on suddenly, your doctor may decide to perform hypertensive emergency treatment to quickly lower your blood pressure into a safe range.
Hypertension treatment requires consistent monitoring to remain effective. Aging, disease, accidents and environmental factors can all affect your hypertension and the medication you’re taking for it. A regimen that works well for some time may eventually become ineffective, so stay in touch with your physicians to get frequent, accurate blood pressure readings. Contact Century Medical and Dental Center today.