High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects nearly half of the adult population in the United States. High blood pressure is a leading indicator for serious medical conditions such as stroke and heart attack. Unfortunately, high blood pressure isn’t always noticeable on the outside. For this reason, hypertension is often called the “silent killer.” While some patients do experience warning signs or symptoms, it is also common for this condition to compromise the body for years without being detected.
The Importance of Blood Pressure Readings
The easiest and most accurate way to detect hypertension is to perform a blood pressure reading. The numbers won’t lie. A blood pressure reading will provide a set of two numbers. As described by Healthline, “the systolic blood pressure is the top number on your reading. It measures the force of blood against your artery walls while your ventricles squeeze, pushing blood out to the rest of your body. Your diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number on your reading. It measures the force of blood against your artery walls as your heart relaxes and the ventricles are allowed to refill with blood.” You will be diagnosed with hypertension if your numbers are 130/80 mmHg or higher.
Should You Be Checked Regularly?
It is also important that you understand your risk for high blood pressure, as these individuals need to be diligent on checking their blood pressure more regularly. This can be done by your primary care physician at your wellness checks or with an at-home digital blood pressure cuff. If you are self-monitoring, however, you should make sure that you are educated on what your numbers mean and that you understand when to report them to your doctor.
Do you know your risk for hypertension? There are many factors to consider, including the following:
- Age: Risk increases with age
- Race: More common in African Americans, especially at an earlier age
- Family history: Having a close relative with hypertension increases your risk
- Excess body weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk
- Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of physical activity raises your risk
- Tobacco use: Smoking is a major risk factor
- Diet: Eating too much sodium and too little potassium spikes your risk
- Stress levels: Persistent or chronic high stress is associated with high blood pressure
- Other medical conditions: Certain diseases can increase your blood pressure
Be Proactive with Your Heart
The average heart beats up to 100,000 times per day! This organ is vital to the function and health of your entire body. What steps are you taking to protect and maintain the condition of your heart? Do you have hypertension without even knowing it? Start being proactive with your heart health today and call Dr. Brent Michael to schedule your appointment. We are fully equipped to diagnose, treat and manage chronic conditions such as hypertension.