High blood pressure (or hypertension) affects millions of people in the United States, increasing their risks for serious medical issues like heart attacks and strokes. Yet many people don't realize they have hypertension, delaying treatment that can help them stay healthy. As a top-rated preventive cardiologist in New York, NY, Dr. Bradley Radwaner helps his patients at New York Cardiovascular Prevention & Vein Center, PLLC, manage their high blood pressure with treatment solutions tailored specifically for their needs and risk profiles. To understand your risks and learn how to manage them for better health, call the office or use the online system to schedule an appointment today.
Your blood pressure is a measurement of the force your blood exerts on the walls of your blood vessels as it courses through them. High blood pressure (or hypertension) is a chronic condition that occurs when the pressure inside your vessels is higher than normal.
In most people, normal blood pressure is about 120/80 mm Hg (mm Hg stands for millimeters of mercury). When your pressure is a little higher than the normal rate, you’re considered to be prehypertensive, which means while you don’t have high blood pressure yet, you’re likely to develop it without treatment or lifestyle changes. If your blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg or more, you have high blood pressure. For older people and very active athletes, these numbers can vary a bit.
Your organs and tissues are “designed” for a certain optimal level of pressure. When that pressure is elevated and stays elevated over a period of time, it can cause serious health issues, like:
The ongoing damage to your blood vessel walls also increases your chances of developing atherosclerosis or “hardening” of the arteries, a condition that also increases the likelihood that you could have a heart attack or a stroke.
You can have high blood pressure and not even know it, placing yourself at risk for serious and even life-threatening medical problems. Most people who have high blood pressure don’t have symptoms or any indication that something is wrong until they experience a major event like a heart attack or a stroke. Fortunately, your blood pressure can be easily measured by a healthcare professional using a blood pressure cuff. Having your doctor check your pressure on a regular basis is important as you get older. Checkups are also important if you have other risk factors for hypertension, like obesity, diabetes, or a family history of hypertension. Regular blood pressure monitoring is also vitally important if you’ve already been diagnosed with hypertension.
If you have very mild high blood pressure or if you’re prehypertensive, you may be able to bring your blood pressure back to normal levels with lifestyle changes. Some changes that can make a difference lowering your blood pressure levels include losing excess weight, eating a diet low in fat and sodium, quitting smoking, and being more physically active. But if you’ve been diagnosed with chronic hypertension, you’ll need to take medication to help keep your blood pressure within normal, healthy levels.