Hypertension: What is it and why should you worry?

Overview

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is when your blood pressure, the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels, is frequently high. 

High blood pressure is extraordinarily common. Recent surveys show that 50 million Americans suffer from hypertension. By the time they reach the age of 60, six out of ten people have high blood pressure, making it the second most common reason to visit a Primary care doctor.

Primary care physicians are the first to detect signs of hypertension. It recommended that you consult your primary care physician every two years starting at age 18 to monitor your blood pressure. If you have a history of hypertension, or if you are above 40, ask your doctor for blood pressure readings every year.

What are the signs and symptoms?

There are no signs and symptoms in most people with hypertension, even if blood pressure readings reach very high levels.

Some people with hypertension may experience headaches, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds. Still, these symptoms are not clear and typically do not occur until the blood pressure reaches a severe stage.

What causes high blood pressure?

Too much salt in the diet

Eating salt increases the amount of sodium in your blood, which increases your kidney’s ability to remove water. Due to the extra fluid and additional strain on the blood vessels leading to the kidneys, the result is increased blood pressure.

Stress

Your response to stress can have an impact on your blood pressure. Stress-related increases in blood pressure can be dramatic. But when you calm down, your blood pressure returns to normal. However, even a temporary rise in blood pressure can damage your blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. 

Chronic Diseases

Certain chronic diseases like kidney disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea can also increase your risk of high blood pressure

Overweight

Being overweight means, you need more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the volume of blood increases, so does the pressure on the walls of your arteries.  

Alcohol

For women having more than one drink a day, and for men, more than two drinks a day can affect your blood pressure. 

Age

As you grow older, your arteries become stiffer, and the resistance inside them increases, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood. The result is an increase in systolic blood pressure. 

Family history

Hypertension is more likely to run in families.

Medications

Some prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, as well as some supplements, can increase your blood pressure, examples include Indomethacin, Venlafaxine, Pseudoephedrine, and birth control pills.

What complications can hypertension lead to?

If left untreated, hypertension can lead to several complications, such as:

  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Aneurysm
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Loss of vision
  • Trouble with memory
  • Kidney damage
  • Dementia

MMA’s primary care physicians’ approach to hypertension

Managing and treating hypertension requires the expertise and care that Manhattan Medical Arts can provide. Our primary care physicians will work closely with you to create a customized treatment plan that works best for you and keep your blood pressure levels as close to normal as possible.

We believe in providing accessible, cost-effective and efficient care that meets the expectations of our clients and strive to maintain the highest standards of safe and quality health care in all our facilities, for all our patients.

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