What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a very common condition in which the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is too high. This serious health condition can eventually cause health issues and heart disease. Your blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood that your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in the arteries. If your heart pumps a lot of blood and your arteries are narrow, then your blood pressure will be high. This condition develops over many years and will affect everyone eventually. Luckily, it is easily detected. Once high blood pressure is identified, it can be easily monitored and controlled.

Blood pressure measurements:

What are the symptoms?

Many people deal with hypertension for years without seeing or feeling any symptoms. This can be the case even with dangerously high blood pressure readings. If you do develop symptoms, you may experience:

But these symptoms usually occur when pressure levels reach a severe or life-threatening stage. If you are 40 or older, you may already be scheduling yearly exams with your doctor. If this is the case, your blood pressure will be checked, allowing you to stay ahead of hypertension. If you are between the ages of 18-39 and you have a high risk of hypertension, ask your doctor to check your blood pressure when you go in for a visit. Blood pressure machines can usually be found in pharmacies and are free for the public to use.

What are the causes?

Primary hypertension and secondary hypertension are the two types of high blood pressure. With primary, there is no identifiable cause; it naturally develops over time. With secondary, hypertension is caused by an underlying condition or a medication.  Obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid issues, kidney conditions, adrenal gland tumors, congenital defects in the blood vessels, alcohol abuse and cocaine or amphetamine use can all lead to secondary hypertension. Risk factors include:

What are the treatments?

Your blood pressure is largely in your own hands, as you have the ability to lower it with exercise and a healthy diet. If you are 60 or older, a healthy blood pressure goal is less than 150/90 mm Hg. If you are younger than 60, a healthy goal is less than 140/90 mm Hg. If you do have high blood pressure, your doctor will discuss the different medications with you. By combining the right medication with diet and exercise, you can improve your blood pressure.*

Schedule an appointment in Spokane, Washington

If you live in Spokane or the surrounding areas and you are at risk for high blood pressure, schedule an appointment at Jamison Family Medicine. We can check your blood pressure and discuss the right treatment option for you. If you’re looking for a physician to help you with your existing condition, we can help. To get started, give us a call at (509) 319-2430 or schedule online.