High blood pressure (hypertension) occurs when the force of your blood flowing through your blood vessels is too high. Although it’s a common health risk, many people aren’t aware of the risks it can present, it’s “silent” symptoms, and how to effectively treat it. View the slideshow to learn more.
How do I know if I have high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is often called a “silent killer” because its symptoms are few and difficult to detect. During any visit to your doctor’s office, urgent care center, or emergency department, a health care provider will check your blood pressure but if it’s been awhile since you’ve had yours checked and suspect you may have high blood pressure, look for symptoms like:
- Chest pain
- Severe headache
- Impaired vision
- Unusual fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
What are the risks of high blood pressure?
You might be surprised to learn just how much high blood pressure can affect you. First, it can put you at a greater risk for health issues like stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease. But did you know it can also result in vision loss, dementia, worsened memory, and even difficulty with thinking or learning? Keeping your blood pressure in check can reduce your risk of death or disability, and improve your quality of life.
How medication can help manage high blood pressure
In most cases, your health care provider will recommend medication to help keep your blood pressure in check. There are a number of medication options available to you and your cardiologist can determine which one is the best based on your health history.
What else can I do?
Medications can help lower your blood pressure, but so can what you eat, drink and how you live. If your health care provider tells you that you have high blood pressure, they may recommend you start making changes like:
- Weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting regular physical activity
- Eating a low-sodium diet
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Finding healthy ways to manage stress (yoga, meditation, reading, etc.)
Partner with a cardiologist
If you see your primary care provider regularly, you might wonder what value there is in having a cardiologist, too. Cardiologists are specialists in caring for the heart and, as such, stay informed on the latest research and therapies regarding the treatment of cardiac issues and risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This information also helps them decide what medication or course of treatment is best for each individual patient. If you’ve been referred to a cardiologist, make sure you’re communicating with them about any changes you’re experiencing as a result of your medication or concerns and questions you have about your course of blood pressure treatment.
Improve your overall heart health
When was the last time you had your blood pressure checked? If you’re experiencing symptoms or want to learn more about your overall heart health, make an appointment with a Lankenau Heart Institute cardiologist or call 866-225-5654.