Am I at Risk for Hypertension?

Have you ever wondered why someone checks your blood pressure every time you visit the doctor’s office? It seems to be part of the routine — whether you’re there for a headache, a sore throat, or a painful big toe. What’s your blood pressure got to do with any of that?

Our team of board-certified specialists at Premier Cardiology Consultants provides outstanding cardiac care for residents throughout New York City from five convenient locations. We’re happy to discuss what makes your blood pressure so important, why it’s checked every time you visit the doctor, and what your risks may be for developing high blood pressure (hypertension).

Understanding blood pressure

Your blood pressure measures the force with which blood flows through the large blood vessels (arteries) that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. The upper or first number (systolic) measures the pressure against your artery walls when your heart beats. The second or lower number (diastolic) measures the force against artery walls between beats. We consider blood pressure readings of 120/80 or less normal for most adults.

Persistently elevated blood pressure causes arteries to stiffen. This reduces blood flow through the vessels, forces your heart to work harder to compensate, and may eventually lead to:  

Hypertension also complicates other serious conditions that affect the health of your arteries and veins, such as diabetes and elevated cholesterol.

Why should you check your blood pressure regularly?

Elevated blood pressure is typically asymptomatic until it’s caused significant, often life-threatening damage to your arteries. Routine blood pressure checks help us spot the condition early, when treatment is often the simplest and most effective.

Many individuals, for instance, can lower their blood pressure with changes in diet, increased activity, and/or weight loss. Numerous medications are also available that successfully lower your blood pressure and protect your overall health.

In addition, persistently high readings may alert your specialist to an underlying condition that’s causing the elevated pressure, such as thyroid disease or sleep apnea. Treating these conditions can lower your blood pressure to normal levels.

What are my risks of developing hypertension?

Many individuals develop hypertension without an identifiable cause, but there are some risk factors to consider, including:

Men are more likely than women to be diagnosed with hypertension before age 64, but individuals of all ages, including children, teens, and young adults, can develop persistently elevated blood pressure.

If you’re struggling to maintain normal blood pressure levels, we can help. Call us at any of our locations to schedule a consultation, or book online today.

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