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  • Writer's pictureLorna Fedelem, MD

Hypertension – what you need to know!


Overview

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is when the pressure in your blood vessels is too high. It is common but can be serious if not treated.


People with high blood pressure may not feel symptoms. The only way to know is to get your blood pressure checked.


Blood pressure is written as two numbers. The first number (systolic) represents the pressure in blood vessels when the heart contracts or beats. The second number (diastolic) represents the pressure in the vessels when the heart rests between beats.


Risk factors

Modifiable risk factors include unhealthy diets (excessive salt consumption, a diet high in saturated fat and trans fats, low intake of fruits and vegetables), physical inactivity, consumption of tobacco and alcohol, and being overweight or obese.


Non-modifiable risk factors include a family history of hypertension, age over 65 years, and co-existing diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease.



Symptoms

Most people with hypertension don’t feel any symptoms. Very high blood pressure can cause headaches, blurred vision, chest pain, and other symptoms.


Checking your blood pressure is the best way to know if you have high blood pressure. If hypertension isn’t treated, it can cause other health conditions like kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke.


People with very high blood pressure can experience symptoms including:

  • severe headaches

  • chest pain

  • dizziness

  • difficulty breathing

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • blurred vision or other vision changes

  • anxiety

  • confusion

  • buzzing in the ears

  • nosebleeds

  • abnormal heart rhythm

  • If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and have high blood pressure, seek care immediately.

Treatment

Lifestyle changes can help lower high blood pressure. These include:

  • eating a healthy, low-salt diet

  • losing weight

  • being physically active

  • quitting tobacco

If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend one or more medicines. Your recommended blood pressure goal may depend on what other health conditions you have.


New blood pressure guidelines:

  • Normal = less than 120 and less than 80

  • Elevated = 120-129 and less than 80

  • High Blood Pressure Stage 1 = 130-139 or 80-89

  • High Blood Pressure Stage 2 = 140 or higher or 90 or higher

  • Hypertensive Crisis (call your doctor immediately) = Higher than 180 and/or higher than 120

Prevention

Lifestyle changes can help lower high blood pressure and can help anyone with hypertension. Many who make these changes may still need to take medicine.

These lifestyle changes can help prevent and lower high blood pressure.


Do:

  • Eat more vegetables and fruit.

  • Sit less.

  • Be more physically active, which can include walking, running, swimming, dancing, or activities that build strength, like lifting weights.

  • Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese.

  • Take medication as prescribed by your health care professional.

  • Keep appointments with your health care professional.

Don’t:

  • Eat too much salty food (try to stay under two grams per day).

  • Eat foods high in saturated or trans-fat.

  • Smoke or use tobacco.

  • Drink too much alcohol (one drink daily for women, two for men)

  • Miss or share medication.

Reducing hypertension prevents heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage, as well as other health problems. See your primary care doctor at least annually for your physical and blood pressure check!


 

Call and schedule a complimentary meet and greet with Dr. Fedelem.

9150 Galleria Ct., Suite 200, Naples, FL 34109

www.LornaFedelemMD.com | 239.580.6390


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