Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common condition that affects about 45% of the U.S. adult population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Because this condition causes a significant risk of having a heart attack or stroke, it is vitally important that it be accurately diagnosed and treated.
High blood pressure is when the force of blood pushing through the arteries is higher than it should be. Hypertension therefore eventually damages the artery walls and can cause heart disease.
Most people who have hypertension do not experience any symptoms. The only surefire way to find out whether your blood pressure is normal or whether you need treatment to keep it regulated is to have it checked by a doctor.
How Is Hypertension Classified?
There are two types of hypertension: primary and secondary. Primary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure wherein there are no underlying conditions that cause it. It usually develops through the years due to age, lifestyle, and/or diet. Meanwhile, secondary hypertension is high blood pressure that tends to appear suddenly due to a medical condition, such as sleep apnea, kidney conditions, illegal drug use, or thyroid problems.
An adult’s blood pressure is measured by using two numbers – systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Every time the heart pumps, it creates the systolic pressure; when it is resting between heartbeats, that is the diastolic pressure. From these measurements, doctors can determine what stage of hypertension a certain patient is in.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure?
If you have normal blood pressure, your reading is below 120/80, or “120 over 80.” It is important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle so as not to increase your risk of developing hypertension.
If your systolic readings are between 120 and 129 and your diastolic readings are below 80, your blood pressure is considered elevated but not yet to the point of hypertension, or high blood pressure. Your physician will likely recommend slight changes in your diet or lifestyle to help keep this under control.
Although hypertension does not necessarily cause any symptoms, some of the preliminary signs can include:
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pressure
- Unexplained dizziness
- Swelling in your feet and/or ankles
- Shortness of breath
Definition of Stage 1 and Stage 2 Hypertension
If you have stage 1 hypertension, your blood pressure reading is between the range of 130/80 and 139/89. Your doctor will likely prescribe a medication to help keep your blood pressure under control.
In stage 2 hypertension, your blood pressure is already 140/90 or higher. Your doctor will give you a stronger prescription medicine and will recommend changes in your diet and lifestyle.
Urgent Care Center in Rochester, New York
There is no cure for hypertension or high blood pressure, but it can easily be maintained and controlled with the help of your doctor right here in Rochester. Taking certain medications, engaging in regular exercise, and following a healthy diet can help you control this condition for a lifetime of heart health and cardiovascular health.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a skilled doctor to have your blood pressure checked, contact our medical team at Cornerstone Urgent Care Center today at (585) 207-0088 or walk right in during our extended hours. We look forward to partnering with you for a lifetime of health and wellness!