Most visits to the doctor’s office include a blood pressure reading. There are two numbers in this reading given in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The pressure in the arteries when your heart beats, systolic pressure, is the first number. The second is the diastolic pressure, which measures the pressure between heartbeats. This number is lower than the first.
Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. Elevated blood pressure is above that, but below 129 mm Hg for systolic pressure. Sometimes your blood pressure may be a little elevated when you first come into the doctor’s office. If it is usually within a normal range, the doctor or nurse may take a second reading after you have had time to acclimate to the office.
Stage 1 hypertension occurs when systolic pressure ranges from 130-139 mm Hg or if diastolic pressure is between 80 mm Hg and 89 mm Hg. Stage 2 hypertension is more severe. Here, the systolic pressure is 140 mm Hg or above or the diastolic pressure is 90 mm Hg or above.
Older adults over 65 may experience a condition called isolated systolic hypertension. In this case, the diastolic pressure is normal, but the systolic pressure is 130 mm Hg or above.
Before making a diagnosis of hypertension, your doctor may take three or more readings at separate visits to establish that you do indeed have the condition. Blood pressure changes during the day and an elevated reading could be the result of temporary circumstances.
Treating High Blood Pressure
Slightly elevated blood pressure may respond well to lifestyle changes. Eating heart-healthy foods and cutting down on salt and salty foods may be recommended. Regular exercise will also help, especially if you happen to be overweight. Losing the extra pounds puts less stress on your heart. Limiting your alcohol intake can also help with lowering blood pressure.
In those situations where hypertension is a more serious problem, and lifestyle changes are not effective, medication may be recommended. Treatment for hypertension also depends on your general health and age. Goals for achieving lower blood pressure can be affected by other health conditions.
Dr. Michael will consider all factors as he determines the best treatment plan for your hypertension. High blood pressure can lead to serious health complications or death if not treated. Schedule your appointment for an exam and consultation today.