High blood pressure often causes no symptoms until you have a heart attack or stroke, making regular checks a crucial part of detecting hypertension before it’s too late. High blood pressure is more common than you may think. It’s estimated that more than 100 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure, and many are unaware of it.
What’s more, rates of high blood pressure are expected to continue rising. Partnering with a health care provider and scheduling regular wellness checks is the best way to stay on top of your health.
Silent but deadly consequence of high blood pressure
High blood pressure is known as a silent killer. Most people with high blood pressure feel fine, and in the absence of symptoms, you’re less likely to know that anything is wrong, delaying detection and treatment.
Long-standing hypertension that has progressed may cause nosebleeds, headaches, chest pain, and shortness of breath, but by this stage, your life may be at risk. Uncontrolled blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Getting regular blood pressure checks
Regular blood pressure monitoring can save your life by detecting elevations in blood pressure early enough for successful intervention. For patients at Premier Primary Care, blood pressure checks are a routine part of regular visits.
A normal blood pressure is below 120 / 80. The top number, systolic blood pressure, represents the force against the artery walls when the heart pumps blood. Diastolic pressure, the bottom number, refers to the force on your artery walls between beats.
If your systolic number is between 120 and 129, but the diastolic pressure remains at 80 or less, you have elevated blood pressure. It’s not a dangerous condition, but it may be an early warning.
Severity of high blood pressure
When you have blood pressure readings between 130 to 139 systolic, and 80 to 89 diastolic, you’ve reached what we categorize as Stage 1 hypertension. It’s important to know that your blood pressure varies throughout the day depending on various factors. Blood pressure can temporarily spike when you’re stressed, after you’ve eaten, and with physical activity. A single high reading doesn’t result in a high blood pressure diagnosis.
Even if you reach 140 or higher systolic, and 90 or higher diastolic, you must maintain consistently elevated readings over three or more separate appointments before you’re diagnosed with hypertension. However, any elevated reading means it’s time to start conservative steps to keep your numbers down.
What you can do about high blood pressure
If you’re concerned about rising blood pressure levels, monitoring your blood pressure at home is a wise way to get proactive about your condition. You can take blood pressure readings daily, or throughout the day, to gain a better insight into how your numbers change.
Small changes can have a big impact when it comes to blood pressure readings. Meditation and controlled breathing can, for example, lower both systolic and diastolic numbers in just a few minutes, between tests. Adding bigger changes — such as more physical activity, losing weight, healthy changes to your diet, and quitting smoking — can help lower numbers substantially.
High blood pressure is usually easy to address when it’s caught early. If lifestyle changes alone haven’t worked, we might recommend adding medicine. Discuss your numbers with Dr. James Batey at Premier Primary Care for a personalized high blood pressure treatment plan.
Knowing your blood pressure numbers is the first step to protecting your health. If you aren’t regularly screened for hypertension, contact our Union City, Tennessee, office by phone or by using our online booking tool.