HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Concierge Consultants and Cardiology is one of the best clinics for preventive and personalized health in Fort Lauderdale. With board-certified and experienced physicians, here is a guide with all the information you need to know about high blood pressure.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure indicates the amount of blood going through the blood vessels and how much resistance the blood encounters while your heart is pumping. High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, happens when your blood pressure against the blood vessels is too high.
Doctors take blood pressure readings using a pressure cuff. For the most accurate results, the cuff must fit perfectly. Blood pressure readings usually have two numbers. The top number, systolic pressure, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart beats, pumping out blood. On the other hand, the bottom number is known as diastolic pressure, indicating the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.
Doctors categorize blood pressure into five categories. When the reading is below 120/80 mm Hg, that is healthy blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure is when the systolic number ranges from 120 to 129, or the diastolic number is below 80 mm Hg.
Stage 1 hypertension is when the systolic number ranges between 130 and 139 mm Hg or the diastolic number ranges between 80 and 89 mm Hg. Stage 2 hypertension is when the top number reads 140 mm Hg or higher or the bottom number is over 90 mm Hg.
If your systolic number reads over 180 mm Hg or the lower number is over 120 mm Hg, the doctors classify that as a hypertensive crisis, and you need urgent medical attention.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
There are two high blood pressure types, each with different causes. The first is essential or primary high blood pressure, accounting for the highest number of hypertension patients globally. It usually develops over time and can be from one or a combination of the following factors.
- Genetic abnormalities or mutations inherited from parents or other relatives
- Having diabetes or metabolic syndrome
- Living a sedentary life with low fitness activity levels
- High sodium intake
- High alcohol consumption (over one drink daily for females and over two drinks daily for males)
Secondary high blood pressure, however, can develop within a short period and is usually more severe than essential hypertension. It could result from one or several of the following factors.
- Kidney disease
- Using illegal drugs
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Certain endocrine tumors
- Adrenal gland issues
- Side effects from certain medications
- Thyroid issues
- Congenital heart defects
While high blood pressure can happen to anyone, here are some risk factors that increase the likelihood of getting it.
- Being over 55 years
- Having a history of high blood pressure in your family
- Using birth control pills or steroids
- Having an African descent
- Being overweight
Signs And Symptom
High blood pressure is usually a silent condition, and you might go for a few years before you start noticing any symptoms. Here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for, especially if you have a few risk factors.
- Shortness of breath
- Blood spots in your eyes
Prevention And Treatment Options
When you see Dr. Tiffany Di Pietro with these symptoms, a blood pressure cuff is the best way to determine whether it’s high blood pressure. However, you might have to undergo the procedure a few times for more accurate readings because high blood pressure may be triggered by environmental things like stress and change at different times.
If the blood pressure remains high, you might undergo an ultrasound, cholesterol reading, or a test for the heart’s electrical activity. You might also have to take a blood pressure monitor at home to take readings over 24 hours.
These readings and tests help the doctor determine any secondary issues resulting in high blood pressure and how it has affected your organs, making it easier to develop a treatment plan.
If you have secondary hypertension, the doctor focuses on treating the triggering condition. The doctor will incorporate medication and lifestyle changes if that doesn’t work.
For primary hypertension, the treatment methods are primarily lifestyle changes that will reduce blood pressure, but medication might also be an option. The following are the most beneficial lifestyle changes that help lower high blood pressure or prevents you from getting it.
- Having a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains
- Being more physically active
- Managing weight
- Managing stress through meditation, yoga, massage, deep breathing, and muscle relaxation
- Limiting smoking and alcohol consumption
- Limiting salt and refined sugar intake
When it comes to medication, it might involve a short period of trial and error until the cardiologist finds the best medical combination for you. Below are the most common hypertension medications.
These reduce the rate and force of your heartbeats. They also block hormones that might increase blood pressure.
These prevent your body from producing so much angiotensin, a chemical that causes your artery walls and blood vessels to narrow and tighten.
Also referred to as water pills, these help your kidneys get rid of excess sodium in the body.
They prevent angiotensin from binding with receptors, ensuring blood vessels remain relaxed.
Calcium channel blockers
They block some calcium from getting into your heart muscles.