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Hypertension, or high blood pressure, occurs when the force of the blood pumping through your body is too strong. When this happens, the pressure pushes against the walls of your arteries and causes damage. This damage can eventually lead to heart disease.

Because high blood pressure isn’t something you can see, it can sometimes go unnoticed and untreated. The key with hypertension is to, as heart.org puts it, “know your numbers.” [1] Always ask your provider what your target should be firstThey have a great chart that shows generally where your blood pressure numbers should be and what they mean:

Blood Pressure
Category
Systolic
mm Hg (upper #)
Diastolic
mm Hg (lower #)
Normal less than 120 and less than 80
Prehypertension 120 – 139 or 80 – 89
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
140 – 159 or 90 – 99
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higher or 100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)
Higher than 180 or Higher than 110

What causes hypertension?

Some people with high blood pressure have no identifiable cause, it just gradually develops over the course of time. This type of high blood pressure is called primary hypertension.

For others, underlying conditions can cause the high blood pressure. This type of high blood pressure is called secondary hypertension. The Mayo Clinic lists the following potential conditions that can cause your blood pressure to become elevated: [2]

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Kidney problems
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Thyroid problems
  • Certain defects in blood vessels you’re born with (congenital)
  • Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
  • Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines
  • Alcohol abuse or chronic alcohol use

Hypertension treatment options

If you develop high blood pressure, your doctor here at Horizon Family Medical Group will talk with you about certain lifestyle changes that could improve your condition. Exercising regularly, and improving your diet—less salt, no smoking, limiting alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight—can go a long way to improving your blood pressure.

Sometimes we may also recommend medications to help lower your blood pressure. A variety of medication options are available. Our doctors can work with you to find the right medication for your specific situation.

Make an appointment today

Make sure you come in for a yearly physical examination. Regular office visits increase the chances of catching hypertension early. Early detection can allow for early intervention before significant damage can occur. Call us at 1-800-859-0085.

 

Resources

  1. https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/GettheFactsAboutHighBloodPressure/The-Facts-About-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_002050_Article.jsp
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/basics/causes/con-20019580
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