What Is Hypertension and What Can I Do About It?

What Is Hypertension and What Can I Do About It?

Perhaps your blood pressure has always been normal. But that doesn’t mean it always will be. 

You may not know that blood pressure can slowly rise as you get older, eventually producing unhealthy hypertension. Hypertension should be medically managed, as it can lead to serious health conditions, including stroke and heart attack. 

At Macomb Medical Clinic in Sterling Heights, Michigan, our board-certified family physicians and their team diagnose and help manage chronic health conditions, including hypertension. Our preventive approach helps identify health problems, and early treatment produces the best results. 

Hypertension is dangerous to your health 

If you’ve always had normal blood pressure in the past, you may have assumed it would stay that way. Researchers estimate that up to 45% of adults have hypertension, but many of them don’t know it. Why? High blood pressure doesn’t come with symptoms, and therein lies the danger. If you don’t know you have a health condition, you don’t get treated. 

It’s important to make and keep your appointment for your annual physical exam. Your Macomb Medical Clinical physician diagnoses high blood pressure by taking readings with a blood pressure cuff. When you get your blood pressure checked regularly, there’s a record of your normal blood pressure numbers so you know where you stand. 

The numbers indicate the strain on the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps to force blood through them. A normal blood pressure reading is between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg. You have high blood pressure if your reading is more than 130/80 mmHg. If it’s consistently high, you’re at risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious health conditions. 

Certain factors can increase your risk for high blood pressure, such as:

For some people, blood pressure increases when they’re stressed or ill, or even just because you’re at the doctor’s office. Do you get anxious when you go to the doctor? The condition is called “white coat syndrome,” referring to the traditional white jacket physicians wear. Your provider may test you a few different times to get an accurate baseline. 

Treatment for hypertension 

If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe oral medication. The type of blood pressure medication you take depends on your health profile, the underlying cause of your hypertension, and any other health issues you have or medications you’re taking. 

Did you know that you can play an active role in reducing your blood pressure? Lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in helping you lower your readings: 

Get regular exercise

Exercise is one of the best prescriptions for heart health. It helps control your weight and lowers your risk for hypertension. 

Eat healthily 

What you eat is an important factor in your overall health, including your heart health. Choose foods low in cholesterol and saturated fats to prevent your arteries from narrowing.

Limit alcohol 

Drink alcohol in moderation. Overindulgence can be dangerous if you have high blood pressure. 

Don’t smoke

Try a smoking cessation program if you’re a smoker. Smoking dramatically increases your risk for hypertension.

Call Macomb Medical Clinic today for an appointment to check in on your blood pressure numbers and take a proactive step to maintain your health.

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