After a blood pressure screening, your primary care provider said that you or a loved one has hypertension. But, what exactly does this term mean, and how will it affect your life?
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a cardiovascular disease affecting 30 percent of Americans. While it can lead to serious cardiac events such as heart attack and stroke, it is also controllable with medical care and lifestyle changes. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions patients have about hypertension.
What Does My Blood Pressure Reading Mean?
When it comes to hypertension, it’s important to know your numbers. The top number indicates artery pressure during heartbeats, called systolic pressure. The bottom number, diastolic pressure, is the pressure in the arteries between beats. Normal blood pressure in an adult is 120/80, but it varies based on exercise, emotional state, and other factors.
Why Is Hypertension Called the “Silent Killer”?
Because it typically shows no symptoms, high blood pressure often goes undetected. However, the damage it causes to your body is the leading contributor to stroke and can also cause kidney problems, heart failure, vision problems, and organ damage. That’s why it’s so important to have regular medical care, including blood pressure screenings.
How Is Hypertension Treated?
Lifestyle changes can often bring blood pressure back to a normal range. This includes losing weight if you are overweight, quitting if you’re a smoker, eating more fruits and vegetables and limiting salt and fat, and getting regular cardiovascular exercise.
If you want to learn more about hypertension, join Carthage Hospital for the Key to Your Heart Luncheon, February 22 at 11:30 a.m. at the Carthage Elks Lodge. This free event features guest speakers from the medical care staff discussing blood pressure, medications, physical activity, diet, heart health, and more! It’s part of the Women’s Health Series sponsored by a grant from Senator Patty Ritchie.