Urgent Care for Hypertension
When your heart pumps blood to other parts of the body, the blood exerts force on the walls of the arteries. A blood pressure cuff measures the force of the blood when your heart is beating and when your heart is at rest. The result is expressed as the systolic blood pressure over the diastolic blood pressure. Your blood pressure should be no more than 120/80. If you have several readings above 120/80, you may have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.
Causes of Hypertension
There are many lifestyle factors and medical conditions that increase the risk for hypertension, but the exact causes of this condition are not known.
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Smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol, eating too much salt, and not getting enough exercise all increase the risk of high blood pressure. People with adrenal disorders, chronic kidney disease and thyroid disorders also have an elevated risk of the disease. Some people have a family history of high blood pressure, putting them at risk for developing hypertension.
Complications of Hypertension
Because hypertension does not always cause symptoms, many people don’t know they have it. Uncontrolled hypertension puts a lot of strain on the heart because it forces the organ to work harder. This is why people with hypertension have an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. High blood pressure can also damage the blood vessels, increasing the risk for diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
An experienced medical professional can work with you to determine the best way to manage your hypertension. Some people are able to control their blood pressure by changing their diets. The link between nutrition and hypertension is well-established, so you may need to reduce your sodium intake or increase your potassium intake. The DASH diet is often used to control high blood pressure. This diet emphasizes low-sodium foods, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. People who follow the DASH diet may be able to avoid medications or reduce the amount of medication they need to maintain normal blood pressure.
Medical professionals prescribe several different types of medications to control hypertension. Diuretics eliminate excess fluid from the body, so the heart does not have to work as hard to pump blood through the circulatory system. Beta-blockers reduce the amount of blood pumped by the heart. They also reduce the force of the blood pumped by the heart. ACE inhibitors prevent your body from producing angiotensin II, a substance that increases blood pressure. If you take any of these medications, it is important to get regular blood pressure checks and see a doctor any time you need a medication adjustment.
People who do not get regular medical care are more likely to have hypertension than people who see their doctors regularly. If you do not have a primary care doctor, or you are having trouble getting an appointment with your primary care doctor, contact Physicians Now. One of our knowledgeable physicians can help you develop a plan for controlling your blood pressure and reducing your risk of serious complications.