According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of all adults in America suffer from hypertension. Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension puts you at a higher risk for heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
Blood pressure is how much pressure your blood puts on the walls of your arteries as it flows through your body. Your pressure does fluctuate throughout the day but consistently measuring over normal numbers puts undue strain on your systems. If left untreated, high blood pressure damages your circulatory system, putting your heart at risk.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypertension
As of right now, the medical community has not identified any warning signs of hypertension. High blood pressure is a symptomless problem considered a “silent killer.” The only dependable way to detect hypertension is to measure your blood pressure on a consistent basis. If hypertension is a concern, you can regularly measure your blood pressure by visiting your doctor or purchasing an at-home kit.
Research into hypertension signs and symptoms is ongoing and will hopefully, at some point, have a breakthrough. Until then, doctors look for certain lifestyle choices and physical traits that put you at higher risk.
Physical Risk Factors:
- Gender: Men who are 64 and under are at higher risk for hypertension. Women who are 65 and older are more likely to develop high blood pressure.
- Age: The older you get, the more likely you are to have high blood pressure.
- Family History: Heart disease, including high blood pressure, is hereditary.
- Race: African Americans are at greater risk for hypertension than any other racial background in America.
- Chronic Kidney Disease: Kidney disease can cause high blood pressure, which will, in turn, cause further kidney damage.
Lifestyle Risk Factors
- Smoking: Tobacco products raise your blood pressure and contribute to artery damage, as does secondhand smoke.
- Alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol has been linked to heart failure, stroke, and arrhythmia, as well as hypertension.
- Diabetes: Most patients with diabetes will also develop high blood pressure.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Not getting enough physical activity weakens your heart and circulatory system, increasing the risk for hypertension.
- Poor Diet: Regularly consuming foods high in sodium, trans fat, and sugar creates a high risk for hypertension.
- Weight: Carrying extra weight puts strain on the circulatory system and increases blood pressure.
- Stress: A little bit of stress isn’t going to kill anyone, but too much stress just might. High-stress levels raise blood pressure and encourage other activities that increase blood pressure further such as drinking and eating poorly.
- Sleep Apnea: Untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of developing hypertension.
Treatment Options for Hypertension
Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide but in recent years those numbers have decreased. Part of this is because of earlier and better treatment of high blood pressure. There is no cure for hypertension, but there are things you can do to help manage it. By following the instructions of your doctor and choosing a healthier lifestyle, you can reduce your risk for heart disease.
Habits to Create:
- Take any medication as prescribed. Blood pressure medication combined with healthy choices will help manage your hypertension. Get 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. Physical activity strengthens the heart and circulatory system, lowering your risk.
- Avoid tobacco products. Anything that raises your blood pressure is putting you at further risk.
- Limit alcohol. Large amounts of alcohol damage your heart and circulatory system.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Choosing to stay at a healthy weight takes some of the strain off your heart.
- Manage stress. Keeping stress down to a dull roar will help keep blood pressure down and protect your circulatory system.
- Following a healthy diet. Limit foods with sodium and high processed sugar content.
Be sure to educate yourself on high blood pressure and work closely with a medical professional. Your doctor wants to see you live a long, healthy life. Trust them to have your back on your journey to a healthier you.
If you have health questions, reach out to our medical experts at BASS Urgent Care. We take caring for our patients seriously and look forward to helping you and your family stay healthy. For more information give us a call at (925) 318-9822 today.