Medical experts haven’t named high blood pressure “the silent killer” for no good reason. The widespread condition usually has no symptoms and can lead to a host of severe health issues if not appropriately managed. The only way people know their blood pressure is to get it checked at their doctor’s office.
High blood pressure affects almost half of the US population. However, only one-quarter of those people have their condition under control. The experienced medical team at Wasatch Peak Family Practice shares vital information on what leads to high blood pressure, why it can be so dangerous, and how to manage it.
What causes high blood pressure?
Your blood pressure is a measurement of how strongly your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries. Arteries send blood from your heart to your vital organs, delivering essential nutrients and oxygen.
A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80. The first number, 120, is your pressure when your heart beats. The second number, 80, is your pressure when your heart relaxes.
Your blood pressure varies over the course of the day, but when the force of your blood against your arteries is consistently high, it can damage your arteries and raise your risk of developing serious health issues, including heart disease. Several factors can increase your risk of developing this potentially deadly condition. These factors include:
- Being an older adult
- A family history of high blood pressure
- Not exercising regularly
- Eating an unhealthy diet
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Being overweight
- Being African American
While some risk factors you can’t change, such as your age or family history, there are others you can modify, such as diet and exercise, that can greatly reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
Why is high blood pressure so dangerous?
Over time the higher force of blood pushing against your arteries can damage them without you realizing the damage is occurring. In 2018, high blood pressure caused or contributed to about 500,000 deaths in the US.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can raise your risk of a heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. Long-term high blood pressure can also lead to the following health conditions:
- Kidney disease
- Vision loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Coronary artery disease
- Pregnancy complications for pregnant women
It’s important to visit your doctor for an annual physical that includes a blood pressure check. If you have high blood pressure, you and your doctor can develop an effective management plan to keep it under control.
Are you at risk of developing high blood pressure? Call Wasatch Peak Family Practice, located in Layton, Utah, to make an appointment to get your blood pressure checked, or request an appointment online.