High blood pressure is one of the most common cardiovascular conditions in the United States and affects millions of men and women each year. However, it’s not always easy to know whether you have high blood pressure or whether you should see a doctor for it. Let’s dive deeper into what high blood pressure is, what causes it, what symptoms may suggest you have high blood pressure, and when you should seek out medical assistance.
What Is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the measure of how hard the heart has to work to pump blood throughout the body. There are two measurements that are taken when determining blood pressure – systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the amount of force it takes for the heart to contract and pump blood through the body. Diastolic pressure is the lower pressure between heartbeats. When your blood pressure is 120/80, for example, your systolic pressure is 120 mm Hg, and your diastolic pressure is 80 mm Hg.
High blood pressure, also commonly called hypertension, means the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries and heart is too high. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the rest of the body. When left untreated, hypertension can lead to heart attack and heart failure.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Unfortunately, there aren’t many glaring signs of high blood pressure. In fact, many doctors dub hypertension a “silent killer,” as many men and women don’t realize they have high blood pressure until they experience another heart condition.
Our expert, Sharon Zell NP-C, often recommends patients to be aware if they are experiencing two or more of the following symptoms consistently:
- Blurred vision
- Shortness of breath
Causes of High Blood Pressure
There are two different types of high blood pressure that occur in men and women: primary hypertension and secondary hypertension. Primary hypertension is hypertension caused by narrowing arteries that happen over a period of time. Primary hypertension occurs gradually and can often be a result of poor diet and exercise habits. Secondary hypertension is typically a result of an underlying condition. Underlying conditions that may cause secondary hypertension include thyroid disorders, kidney disease, drug abuse, and adrenal gland tumors.
When to See a Doctor for High Blood Pressure
You may not realize you have high blood pressure until you visit your doctor and have your blood pressure checked. During your visit, your provider will recommend whether you should seek help to lower your blood pressure. If you’re checking your blood pressure on your own, it’s important to note that a systolic pressure over 129 and diastolic pressure over 80 is considered high. If you find your blood pressure exceeds these measurements, we encourage you to see a medical professional like the ones at Show Low Family Clinic at your earliest convenience.
High Blood Pressure Treatment Near You
If you suspect you have high blood pressure, it may be time to speak to a medical professional for help. Treatment for your high blood pressure may include lifestyle modifications, diet plans, exercise changes, and/or the use of medication.
To learn more about your personal high blood pressure treatment plan, we encourage you to call Show Low Family Clinic at (541) 315-8338. You can also request a telehealth appointment with our convenient online appointment request form.