High blood pressure is the “silent killer.” It can cause severe health problems with little or no warning. Sonha Nguyen, MD, and her team at United Internal Medicine in Encinitas and Fallbrook, California, routinely screen for high blood pressure as part of their comprehensive health services. Learn what your blood pressure readings say about your health during your next visit. Call the office today or book your appointment online.
The best way to understand high blood pressure (also called hypertension) is to think about how blood moves through your circulatory system. Each time your heart beats, it forces blood into your arteries.
That action places pressure on artery walls. The pressure created during each heartbeat is called systolic pressure, and the pressure between heartbeats is called diastolic pressure.
Your blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg, Hg being the chemical sign for mercury). Older blood pressure measuring tools used a mercury-filled tube, much like a thermometer. Most doctors now use digital tools to measure blood pressure, but the older expression of measurement remains.
Normal blood pressure is below 120/80. If your blood pressure readings fall between 120-129 but less than 80, you have elevated blood pressure.
Hypertension begins at 130/80, and readings over 140/90 are considered Stage 2 hypertension. Anything over 180/120 is considered a hypertensive crisis, a medical emergency. You should see your doctor right away or go to an urgent care clinic.
High blood pressure places a heavy strain on your heart and blood vessels. The damage can go far beyond your circulatory system, causing widespread health problems.
Some of the health issues that can result from high blood pressure include:
This is far from a complete list. High blood pressure affects many aspects of your health and wellness. It’s a serious medical issue that requires prompt attention.
If Dr. Nguyen determines that you have high blood pressure, you can take steps to reduce your readings. Many people respond well to a combination of treatments, and your treatment path can change over time.
Medication often plays a role in reducing high blood pressure, and a combination of drugs is often the best approach. Some medicines help your kidneys remove excess sodium and water from the body. Others work by relaxing your blood vessel walls or blocking chemicals that narrow blood vessels.
Changing your life is a powerful tool in reducing blood pressure. Improving your diet, exercise, and stress management can go a long way toward bringing your readings back to healthy levels and can also improve your quality of life.
Learn more about your blood pressure levels and what you can do to improve hypertension during your next visit. Book your appointment online, or call the office to speak with a member of the administrative staff.