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High Blood Pressure: Symptoms & Causes

High blood pressure (hypertension) can be dangerous if left untreated — and unfortunately, it can easily go unnoticed as it does not typically exhibit obvious symptoms. Roughly one-third of people affected by high blood pressure don’t even know they have it! That’s why it’s especially important to visit your primary care practitioner for annual wellness exams in order to monitor your blood pressure levels and be proactive in preventing hypertension.

Hypertension puts you at a greater risk of heart failure, kidney failure and stroke — as well as a slew of other medical issues. Fortunately, you can take steps to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Here’s what you should know about high blood pressure.

What is High Blood Pressure?

Your blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure of your blood pushing against the blood vessel walls. Having high blood pressure (hypertension) means that the pressure against the blood vessel walls is consistently too high. Hypertension is regarded as the “silent killer” because there are typically no obvious symptoms displayed.

Blood pressure readings have two numbers — systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The top number in a blood pressure reading is what’s referred to as systolic blood pressure, or the measurement when your heart beats or contracts. The second number in a blood pressure reading is the diastolic blood pressure, or the measurement when your heart is relaxed.

High blood pressure is generally regarded as having a systolic blood pressure of 140 or above or having a diastolic blood pressure of 90 or above.

Hypertension, if left untreated, may lead to health issues such as:

  • Heart attack

  • Stroke

  • Kidney disease/failure.

  • Pregnancy complications

  • Eye damage

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it typically shows no symptoms or warning signs, which leads many to not even know they have it. There’s only one way to diagnose high blood pressure — having a medical professional measure your blood pressure. Blood pressure measurements are quick, easy, painless and you can have it performed by your primary care provider.

Causes of High Blood Pressure

Hypertension develops over time and is typically caused by certain unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as a lack of exercise, smoking, heavy drinking, etc. There are also certain health conditions, such as obesity or diabetes, that can increase your risk of developing hypertension. High blood pressure is even known to occur during pregnancy.

Tips for Lowering Blood Pressure & When to See a Medical Practitioner

Since there are no obvious signs or symptoms of high blood pressure, the American Heart Association recommends that adults with normal blood pressure have their blood pressure measured yearly at their annual wellness exams. It is recommended that you make positive, healthy lifestyle choices in order to keep your blood pressure in a normal range, such as:

  • Exercising regularly

  • Not using tobacco products

  • Reducing fat, salt and alcohol intake

  • Eating a healthy diet

  • Managing stress

  • Maintaining a healthy weight

If you’re unsure of your blood pressure, or believe you may have high blood pressure, schedule your appointment with Cypress Health + Wellness today. We can perform an overall wellness exam and help get you on the right track for a healthier lifestyle!

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