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Don’t Be Haunted By Hypertension. Your Questions Answered.

By DuPage Medical Group Cardiology

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can develop over many years, sometimes without a specific reason. So, why is it important to maintain a healthy blood pressure? What is a healthy blood pressure anyways? And, how can you tell if you have hypertension? All your commonly asked questions answered here!

What is hypertension?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, occurs when the pressure from your blood against your artery walls is high enough to cause long-term heart health issues, such as heart attack and stroke.

What constitutes high blood pressure?

According to the American Heart Association's blood pressure guidelines, measured in your doctor’s office, high blood pressure is 130/80 or higher. These numbers measure two different things. The top number, called systolic, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number, called diastolic, measures the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats.

Why is it a problem?

Hypertension can lead to a variety of health problems. With high blood pressure, you are at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke due to the hardening and thickening of the arteries. In addition, aneurysms are more likely to occur because your blood vessels weaken and bulge from the high pressure. Heart failure is also a complication of high blood pressure. Kidney trouble, vision loss, metabolic syndrome and memory trouble can all arise out of high blood pressure.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

There are no specific signs or symptoms of high blood pressure. On some occasions, some individuals may have headaches, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds; however, these usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached severe or life-threatening stages. The best way to check your blood pressure is to see your doctor regularly.

What can be done about hypertension?

There are a variety of medications that can help control hypertension, but a healthy lifestyle can help prevent it from occurring in the first place. Eating a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish will help keep your heart healthy. Lower salt intake will also help. In addition, exercise, good sleep and maintaining a healthy weight will remove extra stress on your heart and cardiovascular system. Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake. And, even when life is stressful, remember to find time to relax, unwind, and take slow, deep breaths to help manage stress.

Topics and Subtopics: Arteries & Veins & Heart Health

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