Your blood pressure is the force your blood exerts against the walls of your blood vessels. It’s measured in millimeters of mercury — a pressure reading is written as mmHg. Your blood pressure provides two numbers; the systolic and diastolic pressure, which represent the force exerted when your heart beats and the force when it’s at rest, respectively.
A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 mmHg or lower. If the systolic number is 120-129, your blood pressure is considered elevated; any measurements of 130 or higher are considered high.
If you have an elevated or high blood pressure reading at a standard screening during an annual wellness exam, your doctor orders additional testing to confirm your diagnosis. You may have several appointments at different times of the day, so your doctor can understand how your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day and to ensure the high reading wasn’t an abberation.
Your lifestyle choices and heredity cause high blood pressure. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, your chances of developing the condition increase. However, your lifestyle also contributes to your risk. Some of the lifestyle factors that contribute to your risk of developing high blood pressure include:
Hypertension can also be a secondary condition caused by other health problems like sleep apnea, thyroid dysfunction, kidney problems, and certain medications like decongestants.
Your doctor treats hypertension with a combination of lifestyle modifications and medication. They suggest following a diet that is low in fat and salt and includes more fresh vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. You should also aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise — like a brisk walk — every day.
If you smoke or use tobacco products, you should stop. Your doctor can provide smoking cessation advice and treatment.
If lifestyle changes aren’t sufficient to lower your blood pressure, your doctor can prescribe medications to lower and regulate your blood pressure.
Call to schedule an appointment today for blood pressure screening and expert, customized care for hypertension.