It’s not an exaggeration to say that high blood pressure is an epidemic in the United States. In fact, almost half of adults have blood pressure readings that are higher than they should be. Not to mention, high blood pressure is still considered a “silent” disease, or one that often has no obvious symptoms.
We mostly hear about hypertension raising our risk for serious health crises, like heart disease and stroke, but the condition causes a host of other, potentially quite harmful problems.
Dr. Gurprit Sekhon is dedicated to educating her patients on the risk factors and effects of high blood pressure, and equally committed to treating it so that you can eliminate hypertension-related worries from your list of health concerns.
Dr. Sekhon isn’t only patient-centered in her approach, she’s solution-oriented and sees you not as a “case” of hypertension, but as an individual living with the challenge of high blood pressure.
What constitutes high blood pressure?
Your arteries transport the blood that’s pumped from your heart throughout your body. The amount of force that your blood has as it flows and hits the walls of your arteries is an apt description of blood pressure.
When you hear or read a blood pressure reading, you learn two numbers. Your systolic blood pressure is the larger number that precedes the word “over” when your doctor reports your reading. This reading is your blood pressure as your heart is beating. The lower number of your reading is typically the smaller one and represents your diastolic blood pressure or your blood pressure in between heartbeats.
A normal blood pressure reading used to be considered 140/90 if you were under age 65, and “normal” was 150/80 for those 65 and over. In 2017, all that changed. The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology published new guidelines that showed normal blood pressure was now considered 120/80 or below, no matter your age.
Your blood pressure is thought to be elevated if it’s above 120/80 to 129/80, while it’s officially high if it’s 130/80 or higher.
You’re at higher risk for hypertension if you’re older than 65, male, African American, or have a family history of hypertension. Obesity, a lack of physical activity, consuming too much sodium or alcohol, and smoking tobacco also up risk.
Finally, the way you deal — or don’t deal — with stress impacts your blood pressure.
Why we worry about high blood pressure
We already mentioned what most people know — that increased pressure that your flowing blood puts on your artery walls can put you at higher risk for stroke and heart disease, but did you know there are a host of other problems that hypertension contributes to? These include:
- Memory problems and mental fogginess
- Dementia, or a cluster of conditions that affect your recollection, comprehension, certain motor and language skills, and even mood
- Heart failure, when your heart must work harder to pump blood
- Blood vessel problems in the kidneys that include narrowing and overall weakening
- Metabolic syndrome, a set of symptoms that include high blood glucose, high levels of triglycerides, an “apple shape” with an enlarged waist, low “good cholesterol, and hypertension; the condition contributes to stroke, diabetes, and heart disease
- Aneurysm, when your blood vessels become weak and bulge; a ruptured aneurysm can be deadly
- Potential vision loss caused by torn, thickened, or narrowed eye blood vessels
- Sexual dysfunction in men and women
Complications from hypertension are far-reaching if you leave them untreated. These high blood pressure-related problems are daunting when you see them grouped together, so it’s probably easy for you to imagine why Dr. Sekhon prioritizes getting your hypertension under control as quickly as possible.
Can my hypertension be treated successfully?
In her efforts to get your blood pressure under control, Dr. Sekhon first focuses on lifestyle changes you can make that lower your risk for complications. We’re proud to offer medically supervised weight loss that involves gradual and steady weight reduction done in a healthy way.
Steps that improve your diet include cutting your salt intake and filling your plate with fruits and veggies, lean seafood and poultry, and legumes. Increased physical exercise goes hand in hand with these smart dietary changes. Sometimes these steps don’t do the trick, and in that case, Dr. Sekhon prescribes medication that can help.
The faster you get treated for high blood pressure, the better your chances are that you won’t suffer from these significant health problems. Lowering your blood pressure today can extend your future years considerably.
Book an appointment with Dr. Sekhon to discuss your blood pressure, or schedule an appointment online.