Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the walls of your arteries as it circulates throughout your body. When the pressure becomes too high, this can be very dangerous for your body, which is a condition known as hypertension. While it is possible to manage hypertension and prevent complications, many adults are unaware they have the condition at all.
High blood pressure manifests in many different ways. If you experience severe symptoms, it’s crucial to seek medical assistance immediately to prevent them from worsening. Here’s what you need to know about high blood pressure:
What are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?
Some of the primary symptoms of high blood pressure include headaches and difficulty sleeping. However, these may also be due to underlying conditions. Unfortunately, high blood pressure may not manifest through symptoms most of the time, so it’s essential to go to your primary care physician for regular checkups.
Many people believe the following symptoms are caused by high blood pressure:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Blood spots in the eyes
- Facial flushing
It’s difficult to tell if these symptoms are due to high blood pressure, as they may signify a different health condition. For this reason, you cannot rely on symptoms alone to determine elevated blood pressure. Instead, diagnosis is made by regularly measuring blood pressure, which you can do at home.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Since high blood pressure often does not cause symptoms, it can be tricky to tell when to see a doctor. However, if you experience a sudden, severe headache or a nosebleed, you’ll need to check your blood pressure.
If your blood pressure reaches above 180/120 mm Hg, you must rest for at least five minutes and recheck your pressure. If it remains above that figure, you’ll need to visit an urgent care provider immediately, as it may be a sign of something more serious.
If high blood pressure is accompanied by chest pain, visual difficulty, or shortness of breath, call emergency services right away. These are all signs of a hypertensive crisis that merit immediate medical attention.
You can also use medications to lower blood pressure. However, they may cause some side effects, like dizziness. If these do not go away or start to disrupt your life, consult your doctor right away.
What are the Causes of High Blood Pressure?
Many things may increase your risk of blood pressure. According to one review, genetics can predispose you to high blood pressure, as your chance of inheriting the condition is around 30 to 50 percent. The same review observes that while researchers isolated genes that govern blood pressure, the gene variants considered only 2 to 3 percent of genetic variations in blood pressure.
Lifestyle factors may also lead to the development of high blood pressure. Consuming too much salt is one of the leading causes. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends consuming no more than 2.4 grams of sodium a day, roughly one teaspoon of table salt. Low potassium intake can also increase your risk of high blood pressure, as potassium helps the body cleanse itself of sodium. Ideally, consuming 4,700 milligrams of potassium will help fight high blood pressure. Lastly, according to the American College of Cardiology and the AHA Task Force, losing weight can help you lower your blood pressure. You can expect to lower your blood pressure by 1 mm Hg for every 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds you lose.
High blood pressure is a stealthy but deadly condition when left to progress. By being aware of the symptoms and causes and making some lifestyle changes, you can vastly decrease your risk of developing it.
HealthSprings Direct is a primary care practice in Millbrook and Tyrone, GA, providing high-quality, convenient, and advanced healthcare. Our many services include primary care visits, preventative care, annual wellness exams, migraine treatment, and more. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.