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What You Should Know About Possible Complications When Dealing with Hypertension


Uncontrolled or poorly controlled high blood pressure threatens your health in many ways. When the force against your blood vessels is too great, it can harm various body systems over time. However, bringing your blood pressure within a target range and keeping it there rapidly reduces your risk for complications.

Enlisting the help of a cardiologist is a wise step toward managing high blood pressure, keeping your circulatory system healthy and protecting your overall health.

Blood pressure 101

High blood pressure, known medically as hypertension, refers to a sustained elevation in the force of your blood pulsing against your artery walls each time your heart beats and between beats. When the force is too great for too long, it damages vessels that supply blood to your heart and other organs.

What your numbers mean

A normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. The top number — systolic blood pressure — measures the force against your artery walls when your heart beats, while the diastolic pressure — the bottom number — tells you about the pressure when your heart is at rest.

Hypertension is classified as having a sustained reading of 130/80 or above. A reading of 140/90 or higher requires prompt action with lifestyle changes, and in some cases medication, to bring your blood pressure down. The higher your blood pressure, the more damage to your body and the higher the likelihood of complications.

Get control of your blood pressure

It’s estimated that more than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure. You’re at increased risk of dying of a heart attack or stroke if you have high blood pressure.

Visiting a doctor is the only way to know if you have high blood pressure and to get it under control so you can avoid related complications.

Health consequences of high blood pressure

High blood pressure has a well-earned nickname of the “silent killer,” because nearly half of people living with high blood pressure are unaware that they have it while it damages their body. If you’ve been told that you have hypertension, it’s crucial to know how it puts your health at risk.

Hypertension damages blood vessels

Long-standing hypertension causes blood vessels to stiffen and harden. This makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the body, causing the heart to work harder. Over time, this increases the wear and tear on your blood vessels, which become narrow and less flexible.

High blood pressure raises the risk of heart attack and stroke

When you have uncontrolled or poorly controlled high blood pressure, eventually the walls of your arteries thicken, making them vulnerable to calcification and plaque buildup. The plaque can break off and block blood flow to different parts of your body, including your heart and brain, paving the way for a heart attack or stroke.

Hypertension increases the risk for kidney disease

Did you know that high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney disease? Your kidneys filter waste from your blood but can’t do their job as well when the small vessels that supply blood to the kidneys suffer damage from high blood pressure.

Prolonged high blood pressure damages the eyes

Your eyes are complex organs that rely on adequate blood supply. Problems occur when the vessels that supply blood to the eyes are damaged from chronic high blood pressure. Signs may not develop until later stages.

People with hypertension-related retinopathy may experience blurred vision and other problems with their sight, for example. Eventually, uncontrolled hypertension can lead to vision loss.

Managing high blood pressure

The specialists at West Coast Medicine and Cardiology help you take the right steps to control your high blood pressure. Lowering your sodium intake, getting plenty of physical activity, quitting smoking and adopting a heart-healthy diet can help you lower your blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is too high or lifestyle changes aren’t enough, Dr. Rajesh Sam Suri can prescribe medication to bring your blood pressure within a safe range.

To learn more about hypertension treatment at West Coast Medicine and Cardiology, call one of our two clinics in Fremont and Hayward, California, or book your request online.

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