Medicine and Treatment for High Blood Pressure in Murfreesboro, TN
I’m Dr. Helton.
I started practicing medicine in the year 2000, and over the past 19 years have treated and served over 15,000 patients. I’m the current president of the Middle Tennessee chapter of Family Physicians, an Executive board member of the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians and Chairman of St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital Family Medicine Department.
High blood pressure or commonly known as Hypertension is a chronic cardiovascular condition in which the pressure or tension in the arteries is increased. Commonly known as the “silent killer” as it has no symptoms and can go undetected for years, which in turn severely damages your tissues and vital organs. Hypertension makes the heart work harder than it should to pump blood to your tissues and organs which eventually enlarges the heart and scars and hardens the arteries if pressure is not controlled. This will cause your overworked heart not to function as it should normally pump and transport blood properly through these arteries. This can result in heart disease, kidney disease, the hardening of the arteries, eye damage, and the most common complication, stroke. High blood pressure can either be caused by a number of factors including your genes, existing disease and lifestyle.
High blood pressure is known to be a “silent killer” condition as it is which means its an illness that not very common to show any symptoms. It may take months or years for the condition to reach levels severe enough that symptoms become obvious. Even then, these symptoms can still be linked to other illness.
Symptoms of High blood pressure can include the following and require immediate medical attention:
- headaches (most commonly pain that starts from the back of the head until the top)
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- visual changes
- blood in the urine
These symptoms does not occur in everyone with hypertension or high blood pressure, but waiting for a symptom of this condition to appear could be fatal.
There are two types of high blood pressure.
Primary (essential) hypertension
For most adults, there’s no identifiable cause of high blood pressure. This type of high blood pressure, called primary (essential) hypertension, tends to develop gradually over many years.
Some people have high blood pressure caused by an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure, called secondary hypertension, tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure than does primary hypertension. Various conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension, including:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Kidney problems
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Thyroid problems
- Certain defects you’re born with (congenital) in blood vessels
- Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
- Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines
Because high blood pressure or hypertension is often a silent condition, it can cause severe damage to your body for years without showing any symptoms. Untreated high blood pressure, may result to serious, and even fatal complications.
Complications of high blood pressure include the following.
- Heart attack or stroke.
- High blood pressure can cause hardening and thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other complications.
- Heart failure
- Weakened and narrowed blood vessels in your kidneys.
- Thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes. This can result in vision loss.
- Metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is a cluster of disorders of your body’s metabolism, including increased waist circumference; high triglycerides; low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol; high blood pressure and high insulin levels. These conditions make you more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
- Trouble with memory or understanding.
High blood pressure makes arteries harder, tighter, and less elastic which makes fats easy to deposit in your arteries and blocks blood flow. This damage can lead to increased blood pressure, blockages, and, eventually, heart attack and stroke.
High blood pressure or Hypertension can lead to many serious health conditions, such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease. Treatment of high blood pressure early is very essential in preventing these and other problems to occur in the future.
Changing your lifestyle can go a long way toward controlling high blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend you make lifestyle changes including:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet with less salt
- Getting regular physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight if you’re overweight or obese
- Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink
But sometimes lifestyle changes aren’t enough. In addition to diet and exercise, your doctor may recommend medication to lower your blood pressure.
Your blood pressure treatment goal depends on how healthy you are.
There are lots of different medications that can help treat high blood pressure and these are drugs called antihypertensives. Divided into many different categories, each of which works differently with different side effects.
With so many options available, finding the best one for you may take some time and patience. We will work with you to find the best treatment plan that works for you, which may include one or more medications.
Beta-blockers: make your heart beat slower and with less force. This reduces the amount of blood pumped through your arteries with each beat, which lowers blood pressure. It also blocks certain hormones in your body that can raise your blood pressure.
Diuretics: High sodium levels and excess fluid in your body can increase blood pressure. Diuretics, also called water pills, help your kidneys remove excess sodium from your body. As the sodium leaves, extra fluid in your bloodstream moves into your urine, which helps lower your blood pressure.
ACE inhibitors: Angiotensin is a chemical that causes blood vessels and artery walls to tighten and narrow. ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors prevent the body from producing as much of this chemical. This helps blood vessels relax and reduces blood pressure.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs): While ACE inhibitors aim to stop the creation of angiotensin, ARBs block angiotensin from binding with receptors. Without the chemical, blood vessels won’t tighten. That helps relax vessels and lower blood pressure.
Calcium channel blockers: These medications block some of the calcium from entering the cardiac muscles of your heart. This leads to less forceful heartbeats and a lower blood pressure. These medicines also work in the blood vessels, causing them to relax and further lowering blood pressure.
Alpha-2 agonists: This type of medication changes the nerve impulses that cause blood vessels to tighten. This helps blood vessels to relax, which reduces blood pressure.