Our bodies move blood throughout our circulatory systems in a perfectly-designed way, so our organs receive the essential oxygen and nutrients they need to function. If your arteries have narrowed, however, when your heart pumps blood, it doesn’t flow efficiently. This defines high blood pressure.
The problem sounds simple, but the ramifications of high blood pressure on your long-term health are serious. Even more worrisome is that high blood pressure, in its earlier stages at least, is unnoticeable. Over time, its damage has diverse negative effects on your overall health and puts you at risk for serious conditions, like heart disease and stroke.
Dr. Gurprit Sekhon treats high blood pressure preventively and expertly manages the condition if she makes a diagnosis, or if she finds that your blood pressure is elevated. The caring Nu Wave Medical Center team partners with you to stay aware of your blood pressure as a critical part of your health profile and helps you do all you can to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
What’s considered normal blood pressure?
First, it’s helpful to understand what the numbers of your blood pressure reading signify. The first number in your reading, known as systolic pressure, reflects the amount of pressure in your arteries while your heart is beating, while the second number, diastolic pressure, is the pressure measurement taken in between heartbeats.
About three years ago, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology changed the guidelines for what constituted hypertension. Previously you were considered to have normal blood pressure if your reading was under 140/90, whereas the updated normal reading is under 120/80.
Dr. Sekhon notes that your blood pressure is elevated if your systolic reading is in the 120-129 range, with an 80 diastolic reading, and you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure if your systolic pressure is 130 or higher, with a diastolic pressure of 80 or higher.
The heavy health costs of high blood pressure
If you have elevated or high blood pressure, Dr. Sekhon goes over the very real health conditions you’re at higher risk for. These include:
- Metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that coalesce to raise your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke; they include elevated blood sugar, excess fat in your waist, high “bad” cholesterol, and low “good” cholesterol
- Kidney disease
- Memory and comprehension problems
- Heart failure (your heart’s pumping chamber must work significantly harder, which causes it to thicken over time)
- Vascular dementia (when your brain doesn’t get enough blood)
- Damaged eye blood vessels
- A dangerous bulge in an artery wall called an aneurysm (if it bursts, it’s deadly)
- A heart attack is more likely when your arteries thicken and become hard (atherosclerosis)
- Stroke (when blood flow is blocked by a blood clot that forms in an artery that goes to your brain)
It’s frightening to consider that high blood pressure can lead to so many serious conditions, but it’s true. Everything from your eyesight to your ability to learn can be affected, while heart attack and stroke are life-threatening.
Fortunately, Dr. Sekhon routinely educates patients on what they can do to get their blood pressure down and keep it down, thereby lowering their risk for serious health conditions.
How can I prevent serious health conditions caused by hypertension?
Dr. Sekhon helps you feel empowered in lowering your blood pressure, as there are quite a few lifestyle changes you can make to bring it down:
- Weight loss (we offer medically supervised programs so you’re not alone in those efforts)
- Daily exercise (no need to be a triathlete, just regular, low impact activities can do the trick)
- Reduced caffeine intake
- A low-sodium diet
- Closely monitored alcohol consumption
- Commitment to being a non-smoker
- Effective stress reduction through adequate rest, practicing mindfulness techniques, and yoga)
Sometimes, lifestyle changes don’t do enough to get your blood pressure down to the levels that Dr. Sekhon wants to see. She prescribes a medication that manages your blood pressure, thereby reducing your chances of suffering in the future from the serious health complications we know are linked to hypertension.
Dr. Sekhon also believes it’s critical to check your blood pressure frequently, especially if it’s elevated or she’s diagnosed you with high blood pressure. By keeping a handle on your numbers, she can manage your condition better.
She may recommend that you keep a home blood pressure machine on hand so you can monitor it often and when you’re comfortable, as sometimes people experience what’s called “white coat hypertension,” where their reading is artificially high because they’re agitated about being in the doctor’s office.
Call Nu Wave Medical Center to consult with Dr. Sekhon about your blood pressure, or reach out to us through our website. We follow every COVID-19 safety precaution so you can feel secure, and we offer testing as well here in our office.