Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. Nearly half of U.S. adults—or about 108 million people—have high blood pressure. Only about 1 in 4 adults have their blood pressure under control. Your blood pressure measurement takes into account how much blood is passing through your blood vessels and the amount of resistance the blood meets while the heart is pumping. Narrow arteries increase resistance. The narrower your arteries are, the higher your blood pressure will be. Over the long term, increased pressure can cause serious health issues, including heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.
Often times, high blood pressure does not have any symptoms. However, sometimes people can experience:
The best way to prevent complications and avoid problems is to catch hypertension early. Because hypertension is often a silent condition, it can cause damage to your body for years before symptoms become obvious. If hypertension isn’t treated, you may face serious, even fatal, complications.
You can come into your doctor’s office for a blood pressure reading or your doctor may ask you to purchase a blood pressure cuff and take readings at home. A hypertension diagnosis is rarely given after just one reading. Your doctor needs to see evidence of a sustained problem. That’s because your environment can contribute to increased blood pressure, such as the stress you may feel by being at the doctor’s office. Also, blood pressure levels change throughout the day.
If your blood pressure remains high, your doctor will likely conduct more tests to rule out underlying conditions. These may include a urine test, cholesterol screening or other blood tests, an electrocardiogram to test your heart’s electrical activity, and/or an ultrasound. Sometimes lifestyle changes aren’t enough. In addition to diet and exercise, your doctor may recommend medication to lower your blood pressure.
If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, book your appointment online to schedule a visit with a CareMount Medical primary care provider.