Having chronically high blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about half of adults living in the United States. The condition doesn’t come with noticeable symptoms, however, causing many Americans to wonder if it’s really a serious health concern.
At Integrative Primary Care in Katy, Texas, our providers know how dangerous hypertension is for your health. If you’re struggling with chronic high blood pressure, our team can help you manage your condition and preserve your health.
Take a moment to learn more about chronic high blood pressure and our expert tips for getting it under control.
Is having high blood pressure really a serious condition?
Absolutely! Doctors don’t call hypertension the “silent killer” for nothing. Although it doesn’t have obvious signs you can look for, hypertension can cause serious damage inside the body. This is because the extra pressure can damage the blood vessels and heart.
Chronic high blood pressure often paves the way to serious — even life-threatening — health conditions, such as:
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease
- Heart attack
Hypertension can also cause vision problems and even contribute to dementia.
How can I tell if I have hypertension?
The only way to know what’s going on with your blood pressure is to get regular blood pressure readings. Since you can’t see what’s going on inside your veins or even feel symptoms of hypertension, it’s important to have your blood pressure evaluated by a medical professional at least once a year.
Your provider tracks your blood pressure over time and lets you know if you show signs of hypertension, so you can take steps to reverse it before damage sets in. You’re diagnosed with hypertension once your readings hit certain numbers: a systolic (top) number of 130 or more and a diastolic (bottom) number of 80 or higher.
While anyone can develop hypertension, certain factors can increase your risk, including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Having an unhealthy lifestyle
- Taking certain medications
- Genetics/family history
- Having underlying health conditions, such as kidney disease
- Older age
Not managing stress in healthy ways also increases your risk of developing hypertension.
Is there anything I can do to manage my hypertension?
Absolutely! But it’s important to understand that hypertension rarely develops in isolation. For most people, chronic high blood pressure is the result of lifestyle choices and other health conditions.
That’s why the team at Integrative Primary Care uses a holistic, integrated approach to managing hypertension that considers many factors, including any underlying conditions you have, your diet and exercise habits, stress management, and more.
Depending on the cause(s) of your hypertension, your provider creates a personalized hypertension treatment plan that may include medications and other proactive actions to reduce your blood pressure. Your plan could include any of the following:
- Regularly monitoring your blood pressure
- Avoiding high-sodium foods, such a processed foods and fast food
- Adopting a heart-healthy diet that revolves around veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lean sources of protein
- Exercising regularly
- Losing excess weight, since you can lower your blood pressure by a point for each pound lost
- Practicing healthy stress management techniques
- Quitting smoking and any tobacco use
- Avoiding alcoholic beverages
Your provider may also recommend avoiding certain over-the-counter medications that may raise your blood pressure. These could include medicines that have decongestants, such as phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine, or oxymetazoline. If you have hypertension, be sure to check with your provider before taking any new medications.
If you have high blood pressure and want treatment, or if you want to see if you have high blood pressure, we can help. To learn more, call 832-500-7585 or book an appointment online with Integrative Primary Care today.