Anytime you come to South Plains Rural Health for a general check-up or with symptoms of an illness, we check your blood pressure. If your measurements are elevated at three consecutive visits, you may be diagnosed with high blood pressure.
You may feel just fine, so it seems like high blood pressure, or hypertension, isn’t that big a deal. But as you outwardly feel like yourself, internally your body is struggling. High blood pressure puts you at risk of other significant health problems, like heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
Read on to learn why you should take a diagnosis of high blood pressure seriously and what you can do to manage your condition.
What is high blood pressure anyway?
Your blood pressure refers to the force that your blood applies to the walls of your arteries as it flows through your body. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day, depending on what you’re doing.
When you come in for a visit at our offices and your blood pressure consistently registers as 140/90 mm Hg or higher, you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure. Levels of 120-139/80-89 mm Hg are considered prehypertensive and require intervention to prevent full-blown hypertension.
Won’t I know I have high blood pressure?
You won’t be aware you have high blood pressure until it reaches dire levels. You can only know you have high blood pressure by measuring it.
Certain people are at a greater risk of developing hypertension. High blood pressure can run in families and is more likely to occur in people with diabetes, who are obese, or who have a sedentary lifestyle. Diet can also play a role in your risk of developing hypertension.
What problems does high blood pressure cause?
High blood pressure damages your arteries, which carry blood from your heart to your organs and tissues. If you have unmanaged high blood pressure, you’re at risk for:
Hypertension can cause heart attack and heart disease. Your arteries become less elastic, meaning your heart gets less blood and oxygen. You may experience chest pain, a blockage of blood to your heart (heart attack), or heart failure, which means your heart can’t pump blood efficiently to your other organs.
Hypertension can also cause blockages in the flow of blood to your brain, resulting in a stroke. Brain cells die, resulting in possible effects on your speech, movement, and other functions. Strokes can be fatal.
Even if high blood pressure doesn’t cause a stroke, the condition is linked to the development of dementia later in life.
If you have high blood pressure, you’re at greater risk of developing kidney disease. High blood pressure causes damage to the arteries that surround your kidneys, interfering with their ability to filter blood effectively.
Harm to your eyes
High blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels in your eyes, compromising your vision.
High blood pressure can even cause sexual dysfunction in men and women. Men may suffer erectile dysfunction while women experience lower sex drive.
So, yes, high blood pressure is a dangerous condition. Luckily, you can trust the team at South Plains Rural Health to help you manage your hypertension and minimize the negative effects it has on your health. We’ll help you lower your blood pressure and prevent complications with interventions that include medication, weight loss, and lifestyle changes.
Make an appointment for a physical, which includes blood pressure measurements and a general evaluation of your health. Call one of the locations of South Plains Rural Health Services, or book an appointment online.