High blood pressure, known medically as hypertension, affects approximately one-third of Americans. Blood pressure, the force of blood pushing against your artery walls, normally rises and falls throughout the day, but if it stays high for a prolonged time, it can damage your heart and cause serious health problems.
Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading
|Top Number (systolic)||and/or||Bottom Number (diastolic)||Category|
|Below 120||and||Below 80||Normal|
|130-139||or||80-89||Stage 1 Hypertension|
|140+||or||90+||Stage 2 Hypertension|
Symptoms of Hypertension
If you have high blood pressure, you may not know it because symptoms do not show up until your blood pressure reaches dangerously high levels. At this point, you may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears
- Severe headaches
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
The only way to stay on top of your blood pressure is with regular doctor’s visits and annual physicals. This is especially important if you have a family history of hypertension. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to permanent vision issues, heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.
Treatment for High Blood Pressure
Hypertension is treatable with lifestyle changes and prescription medication. Doc Matt will work with you to decide on the right combination to lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk of disease.
He may recommend one or more of the following lifestyle changes to lower your blood pressure:
- Losing weight (if you are obese or overweight)
- Quitting all tobacco products
- Eating a healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables and less saturated fat
- Reducing your sodium intake
- Getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day
- Limiting your alcohol intake
In addition to lifestyle changes, there are several types of prescription medications are available to treat hypertension including:
- ACE inhibitors
- Renin inhibitors
If it is determined that you have hypertension, Doc Matt will discuss these treatment options and determine which would be most effective in getting your blood pressure to a healthy range.
Manage Your Blood Pressure With Direct Primary Care
If you struggle with hypertension or have a family history of the condition, direct primary care is a convenient, affordable way to manage your health. As a board-certified primary care provider in Durham, Doc Matt is committed to improving patients’ health with compassionate, affordable care. To learn more or to become a member, call 919-214-2175 or fill out our online contact form below.