You may have been surprised to hear you have high blood pressure. After all, you feel fine and have experienced no symptoms. That’s why hypertension is so dangerous. You can live with it for months or years without realizing you have it, while it slowly damages your veins and arteries and decreases blood flow to your heart.
Almost half of the adult population in the US has hypertension, and only a quarter of them has it under control.
At Redwood Family Health Center in McKinney and Farmers Ranch, Texas, our goal is to keep you from becoming one of those stats. If you have high blood pressure, we can help you lower it and get you out of the danger zone that puts you at risk for serious complications, such as heart attack and stroke. Here are some steps you can take, including when to consider medication.
Since there are no clear physical signs of high blood pressure, you’ll need to have it measured regularly. We take your blood pressure every time you come see us at Redwood Family Health Center to keep an eye on it and watch for any changes.
However, you can check it yourself at your local pharmacy if they offer a blood pressure station. You can also purchase a blood pressure monitor for home use. Many have apps that track your numbers on your smartphone.
All the devices work the same: An inflatable cuff over your upper arm squeezes until your blood flow stops, then it slowly deflates to allow the blood to flow again. This gives us two numbers.
The top number is your systolic blood pressure, and it tells us how much force is exerted when your heart pumps.
The second number is the diastolic blood pressure, which tells us how much force is exerted when your heart is at rest between pumps.
Your final measurement is written with a slash — for example, 120/80 — and is read as “120 over 80.”
Your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day and throughout your life. High stress can elevate your blood pressure temporarily, and then it should return to normal. However, if your blood pressure stays high, you develop hypertension. Here’s a look at the standard blood pressure zones.
Normal: less than 120 over less than 80
Elevated: 120-129 over less than 80
Stage 1 hypertension: 130-139 over 80-89
Stage 2 hypertension: 140 or higher over 90 or higher
Hypertensive crisis: 180 or higher over 120 or higher
Treatment for high blood pressure depends on several factors, including which zone you’re in, your age, your weight, and your overall health.
There are many ways to address high blood pressure before you need to start taking medication.
If you have elevated blood pressure, you don't need medication yet, but you do need to take steps now to address it before it creeps up and becomes a more serious problem. Cut back on your sodium and alcohol intake and get plenty of exercise. If you’re overweight, work toward a healthier weight. If you live or work under constant stress, find a way to alleviate it.
Stage 1 hypertension may or may not require medication. Dr. Venkata Vallury and Dr. Visalakshi Vallury, our experienced physicians, considers all the variables contributing to your blood pressure and lets you know if lifestyle changes will help or if it’s best to start medication.
If you have stage 2 hypertension, you’ll likely need medication and lifestyle changes to get you out of danger.
There are many different types of blood pressure medication, and each comes with specific benefits and certain possible side effects. We help you understand your medication and what to expect. Then, we monitor you closely and make adjustments to your prescription when necessary.
Taking blood pressure medication doesn’t let you off the hook for losing weight and making some changes in your life, though. Your goal, and ours, is to get you off blood pressure medication if possible, and healthy living can help you do that.
To find out if your blood pressure is too high and requires medication, call or click to schedule an appointment today. The sooner the better.