Hypertension is the medical term for chronically high blood pressure, a problematic condition that occurs when your blood flows through your arteries with an abnormally high degree of force.
Because it doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms — earning it the nickname of the silent killer — routine blood pressure screenings are an integral part of every wellness visit and physical exam.
A blood pressure reading consists of two measurements: The first number is the amount of force your blood exerts when your heart beats (systolic pressure); the second is the amount of force your blood exerts when your heart rests between beats (diastolic pressure).
Blood pressure measurements fall into four categories:
Many people are unaware they even have high blood pressure, and only 1 in 4 people with chronic hypertension have the condition under control. Living with untreated hypertension increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States.
A variety of factors can contribute to the development of hypertension; some of these factors are within your control, while others are completely unchangeable.
Uncontrollable risk factors for high blood pressure include:
Controllable factors that can further the development of hypertension include:
Controllable factors, many of which are related to unhealthy lifestyle choices and patterns, can be modified to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure or keep existing hypertension under control.
Primary hypertension, the most common form of the condition, tends to develop with age. Mild to moderate cases can often be controlled — or in some cases, reversed — with specific lifestyle modifications, including:
If lifestyle interventions aren’t as efficient or effective as you need them to be, the team at Coastal Cardiology of Orange County may prescribe medication to help lower your blood pressure more quickly.
Secondary high blood pressure, which is often caused by a separate health condition or taking certain medicines, can usually be controlled or resolved by addressing the underlying issue.
To learn how you can keep your blood pressure in check, call your nearest Coastal Cardiology of Orange County office, or book your appointment online today.