High Blood Pressure 101
When it comes to being healthy, you really do want to stay on top of it. You are mindful about what you eat, you do your best to exercise (or at least be active) and you visit your doctor regularly. You really want to live a long, rewarding life – watch your family grow up, and be there to witness all the things you have to look forward to. In an ideal world – and the world of a teenager – you don’t have to even think about health being an issue. That is not the world we live in and you feel it every day through aches, pains and strains.
Even with all the things you do to stay healthy, everyone is susceptible to illness and disease. At the end of the day, all we have is our commitment to doing what we know is best, work toward personal goals and monitor our progress.
At Warner Family Practice, we constantly recommend a series of wellness tests in order to help you stay healthy and strong. One of our tests is checking your blood pressure. As much as it is a routine exam, it’s one of the most important to do. By consistently recording your blood pressure, our providers are able to see potential issues based upon any change and treat a trend rather than a disease.
High blood pressure is more and more common – we live busy lives leaving little room for healthy living or relaxation and it all contributes to high metrics. Even teenagers are being diagnosed with high blood pressure, requiring treatment years before you would ever anticipate it becoming an issue. In this article we cover some of the basics of high blood pressure and what you should look for.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
What is actually happening when someone experiences high blood pressure? In simple terms, your heart is having to work harder at it’s primary function: getting blood to the organs. The increased pressure strains your heart and blood vessels. Beyond the stress on your heart, higher blood pressure can damage your arteries by sending blood with too much force, thus straining the walls. The strain and stress on the heart is never good, and if the heart does not return to normal it will lead to bigger problems down the road.
The most important function of the heart is consistently delivering oxygen and vital nutrients to all the cells in our body.
What Are The Signs Of High Blood Pressure?
Unfortunately, high blood pressure is not easy to spot as there are not many external signs you can look for. You won’t see any signs of blood pressure being an issue unless you sustain a huge increase in pressure over a short period of time. For most people, it is a slow progressing disease and devoid of obvious symptoms you would associate with high blood pressure. Not to say there are never symptoms. In some cases you could experience headaches, vomiting, seeing spots or other vision issues. In a really bad case, you can have organ damage with chest pains and blindness.
The best way to know if you have high blood pressure, is to be tested by your provider.
Is Low Blood Pressure An Issue?
Low blood pressure is something you typically don’t hear too much about because it’s not common. Low blood pressure may come up if you’re being treated with antihypertensive medication or you are acutely ill and have septic shock or shock in general. If you have a drop in your blood volume (whether bleeding or in shock where your blood vessels are dilating) it decreases the blood going to your brain and causes you to have symptoms of dizziness or confusion.
At What Age Does High Blood Pressure Become An Issue?
Unfortunately, high blood pressure is becoming a problem at even younger ages. Here in Chandler, Arizona our providers have seen children experiencing high blood pressure issues due to obesity.
It is easy to believe that youth eliminates one from being a candidate for high blood pressure, sadly that is no longer the case. At Warner Family Practice, we typically start paying closer attention to your blood pressure in the early twenties, unless tests reveal a reason to begin sooner.
How Much Does Family History Play A Role?
If you have a family history of high blood pressure, your chances are higher of having high blood pressure. Family history is a big factor, not just because blood pressure can be elevated, but because it’s a multifactorial problem. You see a strong correlation with obesity in families; unfortunately blood pressure follows the same type of pattern, especially if it occurs at a younger age.
Your DNA may have a predisposition to high blood pressure or other things. Multiple genes account for body fat, weight gain and salt retention. There isn’t one particular gene you could target for DNA or genome therapy in the future.
Not Addressing High Blood Pressure
When you ignore your high blood pressure issues, you increase your risk for heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure increases the stress on the arterial walls which can lead to plaque buildup or blockages which typically lead to heart attack and stroke. It can also lead to dilation of the heart muscle itself, also known as cardiomyopathy, which can lead to different arrhythmias which is an electrical problem with the heart and can lead to death.
As scary as this sounds, this is reality. When treating high blood pressure with lifestyle changes and medication, you can avoid all this. High blood pressure can be managed, but when you don’t address it right away, you put your life at risk.
Take The Next Steps
At your next visit, talk to your provider if there are any symptoms you have that may relate to high blood pressure. You can be assured that we will do all the necessary tests to determine if you are affected. Preventive care is a top priority at Warner Family Practice; when we regularly check your blood pressure, we are able to catch it early and start treating it right away.
Dr. Heath Spivey
Our contributing provider to this article on blood pressure is Dr. Heath Spivey. Dr. Spivey is a veteran of the US Air Force with the rank of Senior Airman. In 2011 he graduated from Ross University School of Medicine with High Honors. His belief in preventative medicine and treatments is best articulated in Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Dr. Spivey joined Warner Family Practice in 2014.
Our contributing provider to this article on blood pressure is Dr. Heath Spivey. Dr. Spivey is a veteran of the US Air Force with the rank of Senior Airman. In 2011 he graduated from Ross University School of Medicine with High Honors. His belief in preventative medicine and treatments is best articulated in Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Dr. Spivey joined Warner Family Practice in 2014.
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