What’s the deal with Hypertension?

By Guest Editor on Jan 1, 2018

Hypertension is the term describing elevated blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force that the blood exerts on the walls of the artery. Elevated blood pressure against the walls of the artery can cause damage and inflammation to the wall surface, resulting in formation of cholesterol plaques with blockages, as well as weakened walls and aneurysms. When these problems occur in the heart, it can result in a heart attack, and if in the brain, a stroke. 

One in every three American adults will develop hypertension in their lifetime, but a person over the age of 55 has a 90 percent risk of hypertension. Since a new guideline was introduced, hypertension is defined as a blood pressure of 130 over 80 which affects many individuals with no previous hypertension diagnosis. diagnosis. Here are some helpful thoughts to stay healthy as you move forward into 2018.

What factors affect my blood pressure?

Blood pressure is not static and tends to vary depending on a number of factors. This includes anxiety, intense exercise, too much salt in the diet, caffeine intake and smoking. Therefore, a number of blood pressure measurements should be made before the diagnosis is confirmed. An average of two to three measurements taken on two to three separate occasions will usually minimize error and provide an accurate estimate. 

What if I have high blood pressure?

Your physician will establish what your risk is for developing heart disease in the next ten years. They will review the presence of other risk factors for heart disease such as age, race, gender, cholesterol level, the presence of diabetes and smoking. An echocardiogram can be helpful to ascertain whether your heart has developed significant hypertrophy due to chronic hypertension. 

What do I do if I am hypertensive?

If your physician establishes that you do have hypertension they should check if you have a low risk of developing heart disease, hen recommend healthy lifestyle changes and review them in the next three to six months. If hypertension persists, medication may be recommended. If you are at high risk for developing future heart disease or have known clinical cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, or chronic kidney disease, then lifestyle modification and medication may be recommended.