High blood pressure is a combination of the amount of blood the heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow created by the arteries. When blood flow is high and arteries are narrow, hypertension results. Over long periods of time, and initially without symptoms, hypertension causes damage to both the heart and blood vessels.
Not necessarily. Blood pressure can reach dangerous levels in some people without symptoms at all. Others may experience headaches, nosebleeds or shortness of breath, but there’s often no pattern or regular occurrence until hypertension is severe. For those over 40 or younger with significant risk factors, blood pressure readings under medical supervision should occur a minimum of every two years. It’s common for blood pressure monitoring during routine health care, since the test is simple and without complications.
While these may be quite handy for monitoring minor changes, proper use, including the size of the cuff, may prevent accurate readings. Between visits to Abington Cardiology or your primary care physician, watch for free blood pressure screenings at health fairs and other events, where trained people administer the tests.
Age is a contributor to hypertension, as is sex. Men see increased risk after age 45 while women see it around age 65. Family history and racial background can also increase risk. Blacks tend to develop hypertension at earlier ages than whites. Carrying extra weight and living a sedentary lifestyle also put more strain on the cardiac system, resulting in higher blood pressure. Smoking and other tobacco use causes both temporary blood pressure increases and deterioration of artery walls. Too much sodium in the diet encourages fluid retention. This can be aggravated by potassium deficiencies. High stress levels also contribute to hypertension.
For a complete evaluation of your blood pressure, risk factors and treatments, contact Abington Cardiology today.
At Abington Cardiology, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a list of some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.