The force of the blood that flows through your blood vessels (arteries) is known as your blood pressure. Hypertension is when your blood pressure is too high. High blood pressure can have many causes from your genetics, to your diet, stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, other medications, and lifestyle choices. When your blood pressure is high, it makes your heart work harder to move blood throughout your body. This extra work creates a strain on the system that can damage blood vessels, increase your risk of a stroke, or heart attack, can cause kidney damage and has links to brain diseases like dementia.
While blood pressure is measured at your doctor’s office by a sphygmomanometer, modern electronic blood pressure monitors give accurate readings. Your blood pressure shows a range between your systolic, or peak pressure and the diastolic or minimum pressure in the heart’s cycle. The American Heart Association recognizes the normal range for your systolic reading to be between 90-120 and the best range for your diastolic reading to be between 60-80.
Here are the stages of hypertension:
· Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or less
· Prehypertension: a systolic number of 121-139, or a diastolic number of 80 - 89
· Hypertension stage 1: a systolic number of 140–159, or a diastolic number of 90-99
· hypertension stage 2: a systolic number of 160 or more, or a diastolic number of 100 or more
· Hypertensive crisis: a systolic number higher than 180, or a diastolic number higher than 110
Hypertension is called the “silent killer” as it has very few symptoms a person can feel. That’s why it’s so important to have a healthcare provider like First Physicians, who can monitor your blood pressure on a routine basis and check for any abnormalities.
The doctors at First Physicians will discuss with you any lifestyle factors that may be contributing to your high blood pressure. They may also prescribe medications to help control your blood pressure. Finding the perfect blood pressure medication and the right dosage to control your pressure can involve making changes to see which medications work best for you.