Your blood puts pressure on the walls of your arteries as it pumps throughout your body. Blood pressure naturally fluctuates, but hypertension develops when it’s consistently too high. Hypertension affects 80 million American adults. It puts you at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and more, but the good news is that it can be managed. Find comprehensive hypertension care with Jason Leonard, MD, FAAFP, DABOM. With offices in Columbia and Sumter, South Carolina, he’s here to help you improve your well-being. Call or book an appointment online to learn more.
Your heart pumps blood through your body, and blood exerts pressure on your artery walls as it flows. When your heart needs to pump more blood or your arteries get narrower, your blood pressure rises. Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition that develops when your blood pressure is consistently too high.
Having high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels and organs over time. The stress from prolonged, increased pressure in your arteries can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, and aneurysm.
When you get your blood pressure taken, the reading has two numbers. The systolic number measures blood pressure when your heart beats, and the diastolic number measures the pressure between beats. Blood pressure readings list the systolic number first and diastolic second.
The normal range for blood pressure is between 91/61 and 119/79. If your blood pressure reading is between 120/80 and 129/80, you’re at risk for hypertension. Hypertension has several stages, based on the severity of the condition, and these stages begin when blood pressure readings are 130/80 and higher.
Some people develop hypertension without a clear cause. But there are certain risk factors that could make it more likely that you’ll have high blood pressure.
Risk factors for hypertension include:
Having one or more risk factors increases the likelihood that you have high blood pressure, but it doesn’t mean a hypertension diagnosis is inevitable. Preventive care can reduce your risk and improve your well-being.
If you have hypertension, getting your blood pressure under control can make a big difference for your health. Dr. Leonard often recommends a combination of lifestyle changes and medication to manage hypertension and reduce your risk of complications.
Lifestyle changes can include Incorporating at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Strive to eat a heart-healthy diet with whole grains, fruit, and vegetables.
Improve your heart health and your overall well-being with hypertension care. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Leonard and the team online or call today.