We talk a lot about “knowing your numbers” in healthcare, or being aware of impactful health data that are represented numerically. For example, your weight, body mass index (BMI — a formula that uses your weight and height to determine whether you’re within a healthy weight range), and blood sugar level are all examples.
Another critical number to know is your blood pressure, but you might wonder exactly what blood pressure is. Simply, it’s the amount of pressure that your blood has as it hits your artery walls. Your arteries perform the critical job of transporting your blood from your heart to the rest of your body.
High blood pressure is a widespread, serious problem in the United States, with nearly half of adults suffering from it. Living with high blood pressure puts you at risk for a host of serious health problems, including heart attack, kidney disease, and stroke.
Dr. Gurprit Sekhon and the Nu Wave Medical Center team offer evidence-based treatment for high blood pressure, and under her care, you’re in the best hands possible. Gaining control over your blood pressure has wide-ranging, positive implications for your health, and Dr. Sekhon is there with you for the long-term.
The facts about high blood pressure
The high blood pressure health risks we mentioned are serious, so getting it under control is critical.
One of the biggest challenges with high blood pressure is that it’s a silent disease. There are no obvious symptoms, like breathing problems when you have an asthma attack or dizziness or sensitivity to light that indicate the onset of a migraine. In fact, one in three people with high blood pressure has no idea that they have it, which is quite dangerous.
When you visit Nu Wave Medical Center, Dr. Sekhon talks about the importance of routine blood pressure monitoring. In addition to the challenge with regard to the lack of symptoms, high blood pressure isn’t just a problem that middle-aged or older individuals need to worry about. It affects people of all ages.
Part of your routine wellness care should always include blood pressure monitoring, and that’s exactly what we do — every time you visit us.
The next important thing to know is exactly what constitutes high blood pressure. There are two readings you get when your blood pressure is taken, but let’s talk about what the blood pressure check involves.
We use a tool called a sphygmomanometer to get your blood pressure reading. We put a cuff around your upper arm, which inflates and deflates during the reading. Simultaneously, Dr. Sekhon listens with a stethoscope to your blood as it moves through your arteries.
Initially, the first flow sound she hears is the systolic blood pressure, when your heart is beating. This is followed by your diastolic blood pressure reading, which is the recording from when your heart’s at rest.
Your reading is expressed with one number over another, such as 120/80. The systolic number is the first one and the diastolic number follows.
Several years ago, the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology changed its guidelines to the following:
- Normal blood pressure is considered 120 mm Hg (millimeter of mercury)/80 mm Hg or less
- Elevated blood pressure is considered 120-129 mm Hg/80 mm Hg
- High blood pressure is considered 130 mm Hg or greater/80 mm Hg or greater
Your blood pressure can change throughout the day, and it can even go up because you’re nervous since you’re at the doctor’s office. This is called “white coat hypertension.”
How we treat you if you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure
If Dr. Sekhon diagnoses you with high blood pressure, she often recommends that you monitor it at home with a special device designed just for home use. Reviewing these home readings allows Dr. Sekhon to see what’s really going on with your blood pressure, which is especially useful if it elevates at the doctor’s office.
When you have consistently high readings, Dr. Sekhon suggests an array of possible treatment approaches.
Lifestyle changes, such as altering your diet and lowering your sodium intake can reduce your blood pressure. Fitting daily physical activity into your schedule is another essential step to take.
If you struggle with your weight, losing pounds can make a real difference with your blood pressure, so diet and movement are even more impactful. You’re not left to your own devices for losing weight, either. Dr. Sekhon offers medical weight loss services that are geared to you, your lifestyle, and your specific nutritional needs.
Prescription medications that lower your blood pressure are also options if diet and exercise alone don’t do enough to lower your readings.
Make sure you know your blood pressure. Contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sekhon, either by phone or through our online booking tool.