There are many barometers doctors use to gauge your health, including things like your body mass index (the calculation of body fat based on one’s height and weight), cholesterol levels, and blood glucose level.
Each contains important information relating to your risk for serious health complications, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Another important reading that you and your doctor should be aware of is your blood pressure, because sustained elevated blood pressure puts you at risk for an array of serious conditions.
Dr. Gurprit Sekhon takes your blood pressure at every appointment and as part of your annual wellness exam. If she has concerns, she has a conversation with you about lifestyle changes you can make to lower it, and treatment options she can offer. Dr. Sekhon and the Nu Wave Medical Center team are your partners in care and dedicated to supporting your well-being.
What exactly is blood pressure?
Put simply, your blood pressure is the level of force that the blood circulating throughout your body puts on the walls of your arteries. Unfortunately, high blood pressure — also known as hypertension — affects almost half of Americans, including nearly 50% of Florida’s population.
The numbers recorded in your reading are your systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The top number is your systolic pressure, which is the pressure at which your blood is hitting your artery walls while your heart is beating. The bottom number is your diastolic pressure, and that reflects the pressure of your blood in between heartbeats.
What is a healthy blood pressure reading?
The range for a healthy blood pressure is now 120 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury)/80 mm Hg or less, while an elevated blood pressure is in the range of 120-129 mm Hg/80 mm Hg. A high reading would be 130 mm Hg or greater/80 mm Hg or greater.
In 2017, the American Heart Association and other respected health organizations introduced new, lower numbers for diagnosing hypertension.
The statement your blood pressure makes about your health
When you and Dr. Sekhon are aware of what your blood pressure is, the numbers tell you both whether you should be concerned about health problems that high blood pressure is associated with. If your blood pressure is high, it indicates to Dr. Sekhon that:
- You may have or be developing artery damage, which causes blood flow problems
- You could suffer an aneurysm, a life-threatening arterial bulge that can rupture
- You’re at elevated risk for stroke, a major cause of prolonged disability
- You have a higher chance of getting heart disease
- Your risk is increased for heart attack
- You’re more likely to suffer kidney scarring or failure
- You’re at risk for eye damage, including retinopathy and optic nerve damage
- Both genders can suffer sexual dysfunction
This list is alarming, but it’s also a wake-up call about just how much your body is impacted by hypertension. Fortunately, there are things you can do to lower it.
Another worrisome condition is preeclampsia, or pregnancy hypertension. It can lead to premature labor and a low birthweight baby. If it’s not treated, both mother and baby can suffer serious complications, and it can even be life-threatening to both.
If I’m diagnosed with high blood pressure, how is it treated?
One of the reasons it’s critical to be aware of your blood pressure is that it can be high but absolutely symptomless. This is why they call hypertension a “silent” disease.
Fortunately, Dr. Sekhon can counsel you about lifestyle changes you can make that often help lower blood pressure. These include upping your daily level of physical activity and adopting better eating habits, such as filling your plate with more fresh produce, whole grains, legumes, and lean protein. It’s also necessary to avoid salt and other choices we know don’t support healthy blood pressure, like burgers and fries.
If doing these things doesn’t get your blood pressure to the level you and Dr. Sekhon would like to see, she can prescribe medications that help lower it as well. She may also advise that you use a home blood pressure monitor so you can keep careful track of your numbers.
Your blood pressure is something that should be monitored routinely. If you discover it’s high, it must be managed well. Under Dr. Sekhon’s care, you can stop worrying about the host of serious conditions that emerge when hypertension is left untreated.
Call our office at 850-493-6948 to schedule a conversation with Dr. Sekhon about your blood pressure, or simply book one online.