The term “hypertension” is the preferred word used to describe high blood pressure, or blood pressure readings that consistently exceed 120/90 mm/Hg.
Our team recognizes the importance of creating health solutions that target overall health in order to relieve symptoms of hypertension. To fully understand how to manage hypertension and support your health, it is vital to understand the basics of hypertension.
What exactly is high blood pressure?
The Basics of Hypertension
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the most common health problems currently plaguing adults worldwide. Hypertension is characterized by the consistent elevation of blood pressure in the arteries and the symptoms that come along with increased blood pressure levels.
To understand why blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, you must first understand the nature of blood pressure measurement. Monitoring your blood pressure involves measuring the force catapulted against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood throughout your body.
Blood pressure readings are measured and described in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg. The numbers are delivered in two numbers, arranged in a fraction. The highest edge of normal, for instance, is written 120 over 80 (or 120/80 mmHg). The type of high blood pressure being described can involve an evaluation of either the top number (systolic blood pressure), the bottom number (diastolic blood pressure), or both measures combined.
The top number is called systolic pressure.
- Systolic pressure is considered high if it consistently measures over 140.
- Systolic pressure is considered normal if it consistently measures below 120.
- Elevated blood pressure (also called pre-hypertension) describes a condition in which the systolic pressure measures between 120 and 140 most of the time.
The bottom number of your measurement is the diastolic pressure.
- Diastolic pressure is considered high when it consistently measures 90 or higher.
- Diastolic pressure is considered low when it consistently measures 80 or below.
- Elevated blood pressure or pre-hypertension identifies a measurement of 80-89 most of the time.
When blood pressure falls within the range of prehypertension levels, you are more likely to develop high blood pressure. Heart and kidney problems and prior stroke are strong risk factors for the development of high blood pressure.
If you have either of these conditions, inconsistent heartbeats, or decreased blood flow, your doctor may want to monitor your blood pressure closely and see levels either higher or lower than typical recommendations.
Risk Factors for Hypertension
- The level of water and salt in your body
- Your nervous system, kidney, and blood vessel function
- The state and balance of your hormonal system
Advanced age is one of the most common reasons for elevated blood pressure. Advanced age leads to hardening of the blood vessels. Stiffened blood vessels lead to an increase in blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure increases the likelihood of having a stroke, heart attack, or early death, and increases your likelihood of developing heart failure and kidney disease.
Your risk of high blood pressure increases if you are subject to a range of factors, including:
- Being of African American descent
- Chronic stress or anxiety
- Diet high in sodium
- Family history of high blood pressure
Unfortunately, much of the time, the precise reason for high blood pressure development is not known. This is called essential hypertension, or hypertension that develops as a result of an unknown or compounded source. High blood pressure that happens as a result of another medical condition or only after the administration of medication is called secondary hypertension.
Common Causes of Secondary Hypertension
- Alcohol abuse
- Autoimmune disorders such as periarteritis nodosa
- Chronic kidney disease
- Coarctation of the aorta
- Cocaine use
- Diabetes (if it causes kidney damage)
- Disorders of the endocrine system, including adrenal tumors (pheochromocytoma, aldosteronism), thyroid disorders, and Cushing syndrome
- Appetite suppressants
- Birth control pills
- Certain cold medications
- Migraine medications
Although there are effective medications to manage high blood pressure, there are other interventions apart from blood pressure medication that can be used to manage hypertension. Our office offers different treatment options for hypertension in Rock Hill, SC, and Charlotte, NC, including weight loss.
Make an appointment today to learn more about our weight loss solutions!