The medical term for high blood pressure, hypertension occurs when an individual's blood pressure averages 140/90 or higher. When your blood pressure reaches this level, it begins to negatively impact the rest of your body, making your heart work harder than necessary. If left untreated, hypertension can damage your arteries and blood vessels and cause other severe issues, including:
Too often, high blood pressure does not have any symptoms and is recognizable only after something goes wrong. The best way to know if you have hypertension is to monitor your blood pressure regularly.
A healthy blood pressure is 120/80. If your blood pressure ranges between 120/80 and 139/89, you may be considered prehypertensive. In this case, Dr. McDow may recommend certain lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Stage one hypertension occurs when your blood pressure reaches as high as 159/99. Once it’s above 160/100, you’re in stage two hypertension, and medication is most likely necessary to manage your blood pressure. If your blood pressure reaches 180/110 or higher, it’s critically high, and emergency medical care may be necessary.
Depending on your health and family history, Dr. McDow may recommend certain lifestyle changes to help you lower your blood pressure. Having a well-balanced diet that has limited amounts of sodium can improve your blood pressure, as can exercising 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.
Maintaining a healthy weight can decrease hypertension, as can learning to use stress-relieving techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation. If you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol, Dr. McDow may encourage you to quit or cut back, as both of these habits can increase your blood pressure and put more stress on your heart.
Depending on your blood pressure and risk of heart disease, Dr. McDow may recommend medication to help you control your hypertension. There is a variety of medication available to help improve this condition, and he may prescribe one of the following:
If you have high blood pressure or have a family history of hypertension, don’t wait until something goes wrong. Contact Dr. McDow today to schedule a consultation.