What is hypertension?
Hypertension occurs when the force of your blood pumping through your arteries is too strong.
Your blood pressure is the force with which your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries each time your heart beats. When your heart beats and pumps your blood, your blood pressure is at its highest. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls.
Your blood pressure differs throughout the day and is higher when you first wake up, after exercise, and during periods of extreme stress. But if your blood pressure stays high, it can cause serious health problems, including:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Vision loss
- Metabolic syndrome
- Trouble with memory or understanding
Your blood pressure gets measured using an inflatable arm cuff and a pressure measuring gauge. The measurements fall into four categories:
- Normal: Below 120/80 mm Hg
- Elevated: 120 to 129/80 mm Hg
- Stage 1 Hypertension: 130 to 139/80 to 89 mm Hg
- Stage 2 Hypertension: 140+/90+ mm Hg
How is hypertension diagnosed?
The doctors at Kidney Diseases, Hypertension, & Primary Care review your medical history and do a physical exam. If your blood pressure reads high, you will be asked to return for two readings in each arm over three visits.
Besides the variation in blood pressure throughout the day, these steps are important for several reasons, including to rule out white coat hypertension, wherein doctor visits cause an increase in your blood pressure. Other tests that help diagnose your hypertension include:
- Cholesterol blood test
How is hypertension treated?
The doctors at Kidney Diseases, Hypertension, & Primary Care treat hypertension by recommending several lifestyle changes, including:
- Eating a healthier diet with less salt
- Exercising regularly
- Quitting smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weight
If these measures don’t alleviate your hypertension, the team at Kidney Diseases, Hypertension, & Primary Care may prescribe daily medication.
Before your hypertension causes problems beyond high blood pressure, call or make an appointment online today at Kidney Diseases, Hypertension, & Primary Care in Arlington, Virginia.