It’s estimated that 103 million Americans have high blood pressure. That’s over 30% of the population. Hypertension is a silent disease with few symptoms, and those generally appear only when it reaches dangerous levels. Many people may not be aware they’re at risk.
Blood pressure testing through a medical clinic is the only reliable way to know if you’re facing the health challenges presented by hypertension. Alpha Internal Medicine specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure, one of the leading killers in the United States today. We can partner with you to keep your blood pressure under control.
What is high blood pressure?
The force with which your heart pumps blood has a high point, during the pumping phase, and a low point, between contractions as the heart fills with blood again. Your blood pressure numbers are measurements of these high and low points.
Systolic pressure is the maximum level on the beat, and it’s the first number in a blood pressure sequence. The diastolic number describes the lowest pressure in your arteries between beats. These numbers combine to give you a blood pressure statistic, which is ideally 120/80, or 120 over 80. High blood pressure begins when these numbers climb higher.
Elevated blood pressure
When your systolic pressure climbs as high as 129 but your diastolic number is under 80, you have elevated blood pressure. Action is not yet necessary to preserve your health, but it may be a warning to improve your diet and activity levels.
Stage 1 hypertension
Your systolic pressure is between 130 and 139 while diastolic values climb as high as 89 when you reach stage 1 hypertension. At this point, your doctor discusses more aggressive lifestyle changes and adding medications to lower blood pressure levels.
Stage 2 hypertension
Systolic levels over 140 and diastolic values over 90 mean that you must make aggressive lifestyle changes along with taking more than one blood pressure medication. The longer you remain in stage 2, the more likely you are to develop serious health consequences.
The dangers of high blood pressure
The longer you have high blood pressure, the more damage it does. Rather than a sudden event, this damage builds up over time. Some of the health risks you face include:
- Atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries
- Heart attack, where blood flow to the heart is interrupted
- Heart failure, a loss of pumping efficiency due to the effects of high blood pressure
- Kidney disease, when the arteries near the kidney become damaged
- Microvascular disease, a form of heart disease that causes angina
- Peripheral artery disease, atherosclerosis in the arms and legs
- Sexual dysfunction, lower libido in women and erectile dysfunction in men
- Stroke, blocked or burst blood vessels in the brain
The time to turn around high blood pressure is now, no matter what your age. Contact Alpha Internal Medicine, online or by phone, to develop a blood pressure management plan. Healthy blood pressure is an important part of your overall wellness. Book an appointment now.