High blood pressure is known as a “silent killer,” because it causes no symptoms and can be deadly if left untreated. It’s quite common, with 1 out of every 3 people in the US over the age of 20 having high blood pressure. Regular blood pressure screenings and treatment for high blood pressure is available from San Marcos Family Medicine for patients living in San Marcos, Texas, and the surrounding Central Texas communities.
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High Blood Pressure Q & A
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in the veins. It’s measured in millimeters of mercury and involves 2 numbers. The systolic pressure is the first number, and it’s the force of the blood against the artery walls during heartbeats. The diastolic pressure is the pressure between heartbeats, and it’s written second.
What measurements mean someone has high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined based on blood pressure measurements. Blood pressure can fall into several categories, which include:
- Normal blood pressure is anything below 120/80
- Prehypertension is a systolic pressure of 120-139 or a diastolic pressure of 80-89
- Stage 1 hypertension is a systolic pressure of 140-159 or a diastolic pressure of 90-99
- Stage 2 hypertension is a systolic pressure of 160 or greater or a diastolic pressure of 100 or greater
What causes high blood pressure?
High blood pressure has no apparent cause, but inactivity, diet, obesity, genetics, and older age can all put someone at increased risk of developing this condition. The only way to know whether or not a patient has high blood pressure is to have regular blood pressure screenings.
What problems can develop because of high blood pressure?
If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Eye disease
To avoid these risks, patients need to partner with the doctors at San Marcos Family Medicine to monitor and treat their blood pressure.
How is high blood pressure treated?
A combination of medications and lifestyle changes can make a difference in high blood pressure. Before prescribing medications, the doctors at San Marcos Family Medicine will help patients with lifestyle changes, such as:
- Stress management
- Weight loss
- Increased exercise
- Healthy diet
- Stopping smoking
- Reducing salt intake
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Treating sleep apnea
When lifestyle changes aren’t sufficient to manage blood pressure, or blood pressure levels are extremely high, blood pressure management may require medications, including ACE inhibitors, diuretics, beta-blockers, angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, and alpha-blockers. The skilled physicians at San Marcos Family Medicine can help patients determine the best treatment option.