High Blood Pressure Q & A
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood as it pushes against the artery walls. Your blood pressure is determined by three factors:
Total amount of blood in your cardiovascular system
Strength of your heart muscles
Health of your arteries
Why is high blood pressure dangerous to your cardiovascular health?
High blood pressure (hypertension) puts the health of your heart and blood vessels at risk. It damages blood vessel walls, creating rough areas where cholesterol accumulates.
As cholesterol builds up, it hardens and forms plaque that blocks blood flow. If a piece of plaque breaks off and forms a clot, it may cause a heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease.
What increases your risk for high blood pressure?
In most patients, the following lifestyle factors cause primary hypertension that develops gradually over the years:
Not enough exercise
Consuming a diet that’s high in salt
Feeling chronically stressed
Secondary hypertension occurs when high blood pressure is caused by an underlying medical condition. Obstructive sleep apnea and kidney disease are two top causes of secondary hypertension. Hormone imbalances can also lead to hypertension.
How are cardiovascular problems diagnosed?
Although high blood pressure is measured with a simple blood pressure reading, the team at Carley Family Care are prepared to ensure your health by fully evaluating your cardiovascular system. They offer on-site blood testing and specialized tests such as:
Electrocardiogram - to evaluate electrical signals in your heart
Echocardiogram or ultrasound - to produce images of your heart
Stress testing - to see how your heart works when you exercise
How is high blood pressure treated?
Before developing a treatment plan, Dr. Carley determines whether you have an underlying health condition that must be treated together with therapies targeting your blood pressure.
Your hypertension treatment plan may include:
Treatment for high blood pressure begins by changing lifestyle issues that contribute to the problem. Many patients can lower their blood pressure by losing weight (when needed), changing their diet, and quitting smoking.
Dr. Carley may prescribe antihypertensive medications when your blood pressure doesn’t respond to lifestyle changes or when it’s dangerously high and must be lowered as quickly as possible.
High blood pressure doesn’t produce symptoms or warning signs, so the best way to prevent cardiovascular complications is through routine annual wellness exams. If it’s time for a physical or you need help with lifestyle issues, call Carley Family Care or book an appointment online.