Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure

High Blood pressure: “The Silent Killer”
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Nearly 50 million people in the U.S. have hypertension. Many of these people do not have any signs or symptoms of the disorder and do not know they have it. Having prolonged, untreated hypertension can cause heart attacks, strokes and many other problems.
Blood pressure is the force of blood flow through the arteries. There are two “numbers” to make up your blood pressure, for example 120/80. The first number is the amount of pressure in the arteries of the body when the heart is contracting. The second number is the pressure when the heart is at rest. Many different factors affect the blood pressure, including of course the heart function, the blood vessels, the kidneys, hormones, genetics, and even your diet.
You can have very high blood pressure and not have any symptoms. Sometimes people will have a headache, or feel fatigue, but some have no idea that their pressure is high. That is why they call it the ‘silent killer’. High blood pressure can affect every organ in your body, especially the heart and the brain.
If you have a family history of blood pressure problems, you should have your blood pressure checked periodically. Any reading over 140/90 is considered “high”. Medical providers usually do not start treatment until they have three high readings at different times. However, sometimes the blood pressure is so high it needs immediate treatment. But with other illnesses like diabetes your blood pressure will be treated more aggressively.
Lifestyle changes are needed when a person is diagnosed with high blood pressure. Usual recommendations include weight loss of at least 10% of your body weight, stop smoking, moderate drinking of alcohol, exercise, and decrease the fat and salt in your diet. I have seen patients bring their blood pressure back under good control, without any medication, by making these changes.
There are many different medications for the treatment of high blood pressure. The selection of which blood pressure medicine to place you on will depend on your type of hypertension, other conditions you may have, allergies, and your lab findings. It is complicated and the patient needs to be observed for side effects and overall effectiveness of the medication. Also, patients on these medications need to have periodic labs to monitor the effect the medications have on your liver and kidneys.
Many patients with high blood pressure also have high cholesterol and atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This requires a comprehensive workup to make sure these other conditions are being treated as well. Individuals over age 60 may start to have a rise in systolic blood pressure (first number) and a decrease in the diastolic blood pressure (second number). BTMCC was awarded a grant to help increase the surveillance of blood pressure and cholesterol in our patients.
Making the above suggested life style changes now may help prevent hypertension. Treating high blood pressure saves lives! So get your blood pressure taken when you get your health screening labs done.

© 2017 Teton Medical Center designed by banik