High blood pressure, also known as HBP or hypertension, is a medical condition where your blood pressure is constantly higher than normal. Knowing if you have this condition early on is critical to your health. It is often called a “silent killer” because you may likely have no symptoms. However, it puts you at significant risk for heart failure, stroke, and other heart diseases. If you think you have high blood pressure, please do not hesitate to set an appointment with Dr. Helton and his associates, Dr. Housden and Dr. Hardin, at Highland Family Medicine. The sooner you get treatment, the less chance for complications.
High blood pressure (HBP), commonly known as hypertension, is a chronic cardiovascular condition in which the pressure or tension in the arteries increases. It is also known as the “silent killer” as it has no symptoms and can go undetected for years, severely damaging your tissues and vital organs throughout the years without treatment.
Hypertension makes the heart work harder than it should to pump blood to your tissues and organs. This extra work eventually enlarges the heart and scars and hardens the arteries if the pressure continues to be high.
This condition will cause your overworked heart not to function as it should normally pump and transport blood properly through your arteries. Left untreated, it will 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 in Children
Although unlikely, children can have high blood pressure too. For younger kids (ages 12 and below), if they show symptoms of high blood pressure, it is likely caused by other medical conditions.
Older children can develop hypertension the same as adults, whether due to poor nutrition, lack of exercise, or excess weight.
The typical treatment is to help the child embrace a healthier lifestyle. That means avoiding food high in sodium, becoming more active, and getting enough sleep. However, younger children may need more tests, and medication may be necessary.
As a well-known silent killer, hypertension may not 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 illnesses.
Symptoms of high blood pressure can include the following and require immediate medical attention:
These symptoms do not occur in everyone with hypertension or high blood pressure, but waiting for a symptom of this condition to appear could be fatal.
That is why it’s necessary to have yearly or bi-yearly wellness check-ups to know that your blood pressure isn’t too high or too low. Also, it’s easy for you to just ignore some of the symptoms, especially headaches, due to how common it is.
There are two types of high blood pressure, and each one has different causes. They are:
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.
Generally, primary hypertension is caused by one or a combination of:
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 primary hypertension. Various conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension, including:
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 in fatal complications.
Complications of high blood pressure include the following:
In general, the main concern for high blood pressure is its damage to your arteries. It makes them 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, heart attack, and stroke.
High blood pressure or hypertension can lead to severe health conditions, such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease. Treatment of high blood pressure early is imperative in preventing these and other problems from occurring 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:
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 plenty 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 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.
This type makes your heart beat slower and with less force. It reduces the amount of blood pumped through your arteries with each beat, which lowers blood pressure. It also blocks certain hormones that can raise your blood pressure.
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.
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 function leads to less forceful heartbeats and lower blood pressure. These medicines also work in the blood vessels, causing them to relax and further lowering blood pressure.
This medication changes the nerve impulses that cause blood vessels to tighten. This helps blood vessels to relax, which reduces blood pressure.
At Highland Family Medicine, we make sure that you will get the proper treatment that will provide you with the best experience. All of the above medications have side effects, but our family physicians will look for the ones that won’t affect your daily life. What matters here is that you get treatment for high blood pressure and stop it from causing complications – through healthy lifestyle changes and medication.
Despite being one of the most common medical conditions on the planet, high blood pressure or hypertension is incredibly dangerous. In 2020, over 670,000 deaths in the country had hypertension as a contributing or leading cause. And Tennessee ranks 7th for the highest rates of hypertension.
Here at Highland Family Medicine, we treat high blood pressure seriously and holistically. If you have this medical condition, Dr. Helton, Dr. Housden, and Dr. Hardin will provide you with more than medication. Our team will support you in managing your blood pressure, help you adopt a healthier lifestyle, and investigate underlying conditions that may have caused your HBP (and then provide treatment).
Highland Family Medicine and its doctors, Dr. Helton, Dr. Housden, and Dr. Hardin, have been serving and treating the community of Murfreesboro, TN, and surrounding areas for over two decades.
Collectively, they have treated more than 20,000 patients. Highland Family Medicine specializes in comprehensive health care for people of all ages, treating most ailments and non-emergencies.
Please don’t hesitate to call the Highland Family Medicine doctor’s office. Dr. Helton, Dr. Housden, and Dr. Hardin are professionals and ready to serve.