High blood pressure, medically known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke, and it’s on the rise. More than 100 million adults in the United States have hypertension, according to recent statistics, and because hypertension rarely causes symptoms, many of them are unaware of it. This makes regular checkups essential.
The team at Redwood Family Health Center in McKinney and Farmers Branch, Texas, stress the importance of prioritizing your heart health. Heart attacks claim the lives of 655,000 people in the US each year, and 1-in-5 heart attacks are silent, meaning they hit without obvious warning.
By monitoring and controlling your blood pressure and adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, you can protect your heart and blood vessels and stave off heart disease.
Hypertension is known as a silent disease because it often causes no symptoms, and a heart attack is often the first sign of something wrong. Most of the time, people with higher-than-normal blood pressure remain unaware there’s a problem.
You can’t rely on symptoms to know that you have high blood pressure. This means regular blood pressure checks with your physician are necessary. It’s the only way to tell if your levels are elevated. Normal blood pressure readings are 120/80 or below.
We diagnose high blood pressure when you have three or more consistent readings of 130/80 or above. In some cases, a change in diet and lifestyle can bring blood pressure out of the red zone and into a healthy range. When that’s not enough, your provider can prescribe antihypertensive medication to help manage blood pressure.
You’re classified as having Stage 1 hypertension when your cuff readings are between 130 to 139 systolic (top number), and 80 to 89 diastolic (bottom number). It’s important to know that your blood pressure reading can be elevated due to a reaction to the events of the day, the food you’ve eaten, or stress you’re under. A single high reading won’t result in a high blood pressure diagnosis.
Even if you reach 140 or higher systolic, and 90 or higher diastolic, known as Stage 2 hypertension, you’ll have to maintain similar readings over three or more separate appointments before we make a diagnosis. However, any elevated reading might mean it’s time to start conservative steps to keep blood pressure within a healthy range.
When you’re concerned about climbing blood pressure levels, getting a home monitor is an easy and affordable way to keep track. You can self-monitor by taking daily blood pressure readings and keeping notes to gain insight into how and why your numbers change.
If you have hypertension, you’re in good hands. Your provider can suggest adjustments to your lifestyle, such as getting more exercise and eating a more heart-healthy diet, to get your readings in check. You’d be surprised how big of an improvement they alone can provide.
In addition to lifestyle changes, medication, when appropriate, can assist your efforts. And we’re here to help you every step of the way.
Left untreated, high blood pressure can cause serious health problems, so if you’re worried about your blood pressure or overall heart health, discuss your concerns with one of our providers. To get started, contact our office by phone, or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment with us today.