The cardiovascular system is a complex set of blood vessels and arteries powered by the heart that send blood pumping throughout the body. Keeping your cardiovascular system healthy is crucial for good health. One aspect of cardiovascular health that can be hard to track without medical care is blood pressure. High blood pressure can put pressure on your heart and leave you at risk of serious cardiovascular complications, including a heart attack.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
When your blood flows through the blood vessels, it puts pressure on the walls of the arteries. Normal blood pressure is considered any blood pressure reading of 120/80 mmHg or lower. Blood pressure that is consistently above that level is considered high and may require intervention.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be one of two types: Primary high blood pressure occurs over years as a person ages, and this is the most common form. Secondary high blood pressure occurs as a result of a medical condition or the use of medication, and it will disappear as the underlying cause is removed or treated.
Common High Blood Pressure Symptoms
People who are concerned about their heart health may wish to look for signs of high blood pressure, so they can seek medical care right away. Unfortunately, people with high blood pressure rarely experience any symptoms, until their blood pressure rises to a critical level. When this happens, you may experience:
- A severe headache
- Feelings of confusion
- Blood in the urine
- Pounding in the chest, neck or ears
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Vision problems
- Changes in the heart beat
Any of these high blood pressure symptoms require an immediate visit to the doctor.
How to Treat Elevated Blood Pressure
If your doctor has expressed concerns about your blood pressure, you will want to take a close look at your lifestyle to determine if there are any changes you should make. Following a high blood pressure diet — which is rich in fruits and vegetables and low in sodium and saturated fats — is a great first step. People with high blood pressure who are also overweight can lower their blood pressure by losing weight. Physical activity can also have a positive effect on your blood pressure.
However, if your hypertension is severe or your heart health is at high risk, you may need to take blood pressure medication. This requires careful monitoring from a doctor to ensure that the medication is keeping your blood pressure at the ideal level.
How to Prevent High Blood Pressure
A heart-healthy lifestyle is the key to preventing the development of blood pressure problems. A healthy diet with a focus on whole foods, sufficient exercise and sufficient sleep will help keep blood pressure levels in check. If you want to gain insight on what is causing your high blood pressure, wish to have your blood pressure measured, or need help managing blood pressure medications and lifestyle changes, schedule an appointment with Lakeview Immediate Care for a thorough checkup from a skilled physician. You can also read more about our services to find comprehensive care for high blood pressure symptoms.