High blood pressure is a serious condition that requires treatment. Here are answers to four frequently asked questions you need to know.
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure equals the force pushing against your artery walls when your heart beats and when it rests. The systolic pressure is the force against artery walls when your heart beats (contracts), while the diastolic pressure is the pressure against your artery walls when the heart relaxes (between beats).
High blood pressure is a reading equal to or greater than 140/90 mm Hg. A reading between 120-139/80-89 mm Hg falls within the pre-hypertension category. A blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal. High blood pressure is typically diagnosed after more than one elevated blood pressure reading.
Why is high blood pressure dangerous?
While the arteries are comprised of muscle and tissues intended to expand and contract as needed to accommodate blood flow, constant high blood pressure leads to many health complications. If the high pressure continues over a long period of time, the functioning of the heart and arteries (and other organs, such as the kidneys’) gradually deteriorate under the strain. The added workload causes the heart to enlarge. If your heart enlarges too much, it may have difficulty meeting the needs of your body.
What are high blood pressure symptoms?
There are usually no symptoms associated with high blood pressure, hence the name the “silent killer”. Most individuals diagnosed with high blood pressure do not know they have it. Symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, and/or nosebleeds do not usually occur until high blood pressure has reached advanced stages. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked.
What do I need to do to lower high blood pressure?
Treatment to lower high blood pressure usually includes a combination of medication, diet, and lifestyle changes. The treatment plan appropriate for you depends on your blood pressure reading and medical history. You need to work with your physician to outline a plan of action. You will increase the effectiveness of blood pressure medication by following a heart healthy diet.
All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD