Every time your heart beats, blood containing oxygen and nutrients is pushed throughout your body. Meanwhile, blood returns to your heart and lungs to replenish the oxygen and nutrients it has provided.
Blood presses against the walls of your veins and arteries — your blood vessels — with each heartbeat. Blood pressure is necessary to ensure that blood gets to where it needs to go, but when your blood pressure goes too high, it can damage your blood vessels and contribute to cardiovascular disease.
High blood pressure, generally known as hypertension, affects around 75 million people in the United States. Every day, Rosalyn McFarland, DNP and Clarissa Lawrence, DNP of MyNP Professionals in Brown Deer, Wisconsin help patients manage their high blood pressure. What’s more, millions of people have hypertension and are unaware of it.
High blood pressure is stealth
There's a reason why millions of individuals are unaware they have high blood pressure: It usually has no symptoms or indicators. High blood pressure can silently damage your body for years without your knowledge. When blood pressure is very high, it can cause headaches, which you may mistake for something else, such as a lack of sleep or stress.
High blood pressure risk factors
Despite the fact that high blood pressure has no symptoms, you can assess your risk of developing it by considering the factors that influence blood pressure. High blood pressure can be caused by a number of circumstances, including:
- Age: As you get older, your risk increases.
- Race: Hypertension is more common in African Americans than in whites, and it usually develops earlier.
- If you have hypertension in your immediate family, your risk increases.
- Excess body weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes.
- Sedentary behavior: A lack of physical activity is a common risk factor.
- Tobacco use: There is a link between smoking and high blood pressure.
- Too much sodium (salt) in the diet is known to raise blood pressure. Potassium deficiency can also have a role.
- Stress levels: Both acutely and chronically, high stress can raise blood pressure.
Additionally, certain conditions, such as kidney disease and diabetes, can raise your blood pressure in a secondary manner.
How high blood pressure affects your health
When the force is too great against your blood vessel walls, it damages your organs over time. High blood pressure can lead to kidney failure, blindness, dementia, heart failure, heart attack, and stroke, to name a few.
Know your numbers
There's just one way to find out whether you have high blood pressure: Visit your doctor and have your blood pressure taken.
Your systolic and diastolic blood pressure are the two values that make up a blood pressure reading. Readings greater than 120 mmHg and 80 mmHg, respectively (represented as 120/80 mmHg) mean you're at risk for hypertension. You have hypertension if your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or greater.
You should have your blood pressure checked by your doctor frequently, or buy a digital at-home blood pressure cuff to use regularly. Our providers take blood pressure readings as part of routine wellness visits and chronic care, as well as whenever you visit for a sickness or injury.
To get your blood pressure checked, schedule an appointment with a MyNP Professionals provider today. Call our Brown Deer office at 414-269-4206 or book an appointment online.