We Answer Your FAQs About High Blood Pressure
If you’re waiting until you exhibit symptoms of high blood pressure to see your Raleigh internal medicine doctor, you’re waiting too long.In most cases, high blood pressure doesn’t cause any symptoms at all, which is why it’s called the “silent killer.”
What Is a Normal Blood Pressure Range?
There are different stages of high blood pressure. They are measured by two numbers: the systolic and the diastolic. The systolic number is the one that is usually read first –as in 110 over 80. In this example, 110 is your systolic number.
You have elevated blood pressure if the first number ranges from 120-129 consistently. The bottom number (diastolic) should ideally be around 80.
What Is the Most Important Number in Blood Pressure? The Higher One or the Lower One?
First, both numbers are very important because they help us make a timely diagnosis. However, we particularly focus on the top number, which is called your systolic pressure.
The systolic pressure measures the force when the heart pumps the blood to go outward into the many parts of your body.
Curious to know more about what those numbers on your blood pressure reading mean? We’ve tackled this subject in one of our earlier blogs so you can learn all about systolic and diastolic readings.
HYPERTENSION STAGE 1
You are considered to be in hypertension stage 1 when the systolic number is in the 130-139 range and the diastolic number is 80 to 89.
If this is the case, then you definitely need to see one of our Raleigh internal medicine doctors for high blood pressure treatment.
In addition, blood pressure medication may be prescribed, depending upon your overall risk for having a heart attack or stroke. This can keep your blood pressure from developing into hypertension stage 2.
HYPERTENSION STAGE 2
In hypertension stage 2, the blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. At this point, our physicians will almost always prescribe medication and emphasize lifestyle changes.
If left untreated, high blood pressure can progress to a very serious condition called a hypertensive crisis. This is when your blood pressure exceeds 180/120. It’s very important to contact your doctor immediately if your readings are this high.
Sometimes this condition is accompanied by:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Numbness or weakness
- Vision problems
- Back pain
- Problems speaking
If you are experiencing these symptoms with high blood pressure readings, you should call 911.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
Did you know in many cases there’s no one specific cause?
Typically, those with hypertension develop the condition over the course of several years.
There’s another type of blood pressure called secondary hypertension. This means that high blood pressure is caused by an underlying medical condition such as:
- Sleep apnea
- Thyroid issues such as hypo- or hyper- thyroidism
- Certain prescription medications
Some people develop high blood pressure from taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
What Are the Risks of High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure puts you at greater risk for conditions like a stroke or a heart attack. But that’s not all. If you have hypertension, you’re also at greater risk for:
- Kidney failure
- Vision problems
- Erectile dysfunction (in men)
- Decreased sexual desire (in women)
- Chest pain
- Peripheral artery disease
It’s important to be proactive when addressing hypertension to avoid these health complications.
How Do You Feel When You Have High Blood Pressure?
As we mentioned earlier, you may have no symptoms and feel fine. This is why a yearly wellness physical is so important because it can pinpoint these problems before they develop into more serious health issues.
In certain cases, some people may feel flush, dizzy or have nosebleeds. However, there are lots of medical conditions that can cause these symptoms. For that reason, we encourage you to always have your blood pressure measured regularly.
Is Your Blood Pressure Higher in the Morning?
We get asked this question a lot, especially in reference to when you should take your blood pressure medication.
While research is always ongoing, typically, your blood pressure is lower at night. Blood pressure gradually rises when you wake up. In most cases, blood pressure is highest in the afternoon.
What Should You Do for High Blood Pressure?
Our internal medicine physicians will be happy to show you ways to lower your blood pressure—including how to manage stress.
We take a team approach to treating your illness. We are excited to work with you to get your numbers where they need to be.
Wondering how to lower blood pressure? Following are a few steps you can take.
How to Lower Blood Pressure
- Maintain a healthy weight (you can check your Body Mass Index [link to: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm] online to see how you’re doing.)
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Reduce your salt intake
- Limit or eliminate alcohol
If you’ve been prescribed medication, it’s important to take that as directed. Also, you should check your blood pressure at home. Keep track of your readings and share them with us at your next appointment. This will help us serve you better.
When Is High Blood Pressure an Emergency?
If your blood pressure is 180/110 or higher, you should seek emergency medical attention.
This is particularly important if you experience any of the following, which may be signs of organ damage:
- Shortness of breath
- Vision problems or changes
- Chest pain
- Severe headaches
- Difficulty talking or communicating
Statistics on High Blood Pressure
Those with high blood pressure should know that they are not alone.
According to the American Heart Association, almost half of Americans have high blood pressure, Many of them aren’t aware of it.
That equates to 1 out of every three adults, or roughly 77.9 million Americans.
Other data reveals that among those with high blood pressure, only a little over half—52 percent—have it under control.
Sadly, only 74 percent are currently seeking treatment for their high blood pressure.
Interested in Learning More About High Blood Pressure?
We believe that education is vital to help our patients live healthier lives. Therefore we’ve created an extensive library of information through our medical blog.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control offers an extensive library of information about high blood pressure.
As always, our internal medicine doctors in Raleigh, Cary and the Triangle area are your best resource to answer questions, provide information and create a specialized plan to help treat —or avoid—high blood pressure.
Internal Medicine Physicians Are the Most Effective Doctors for High Blood Pressure
What makes internal medicine physicians unique? They combine laboratory science with compassionate patient care. They’re also experts at treating chronic diseases and are ideal for those who may be struggling with managing two diseases at once.
If you don’t know your blood pressure numbers, then it’s important to schedule a wellness visit with us. If you’re found to have high blood pressure, we can create a plan to help you remain healthy.
Because of the serious health risks associated with high blood pressure, you shouldn’t delay. Contact us for an appointment today.