High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition that occurs when your blood moves through your arteries with higher than normal pressure. Left untreated, the long-term force of this pressure against your artery walls can contribute to the development of a variety of serious health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. The top-notch team at HT Family Physicians in Stockton and Lodi, California provide comprehensive care for patients with high blood pressure. If you’re in the San Joaquin area and you’d like to learn more, call or book your appointment online today.
Every time your heart beats, it pumps blood through your arteries. Your blood pressure, which is the force your blood exerts against the walls of your arteries, is highest when your heart beats, because that’s when it pumps your blood. This is known as systolic pressure.
Between beats, when your heart is at rest, your blood pressure goes down. This is known as diastolic pressure.
Your blood pressure measurement uses these two numbers, with the systolic number coming before the diastolic number. A reading of 119/79 or lower is considered normal.
You may be considered at risk for high blood pressure if your reading is between 120 and 139 for the top number, or between 80 and 89 for the bottom number.
High blood pressure is defined as 140/90 or higher.
High blood pressure is sometimes called “the silent killer,” because the condition can persist for years without showing any signs or symptoms. This is why your blood pressure is checked virtually every time you see a doctor, whether it’s a regular visit to your primary care doctor at HT Family Physicians or an unexpected trip to urgent care.
For most patients with high blood pressure, there’s often no single identifying cause of the condition. In such cases, there are a wide range of risk factors that may contribute to its development, including:
Your risk of developing high blood pressure increases with age. Men are more likely to have hypertension after the age of 45, while women are more likely to develop the condition after the age of 65.
Being overweight or obese puts extra strain on your blood vessels, because they’re required to deliver a larger supply of oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. This increased blood volume puts more pressure on arterial walls.
High blood pressure tends to run in families.
Many other factors can contribute to or cause hypertension, including:
Primary high blood pressure, the most common form of the condition, tends to develop over years, with age. This type of hypertension typically responds to healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating a heart-healthy diet that’s low in sodium, getting 30-60 minutes of doctor-recommended physical activity each day, and achieving a healthy body weight.
If such lifestyle interventions don’t work quickly enough, the team at HT Family Physicians can prescribe medication to help lower your blood pressure more effectively.