High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a very common condition. Millions of people of all ages, including children and teens, have high blood pressure, which is one of the most common cardiovascular diseases. It can cause life-threatening illnesses like stroke and heart attacks. There are a number of ways to treat hypertension. If left untreated, it can can cause damage to the body which may require major or minor emergency services.
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure or hypertension causes the blood in your arteries to push harder against them as it flows through your body. When this force is too high, it can damage the arteries. Almost a third or 30% of all adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. It is typically detected when your blood pressure is measured during routine medical checkups.
You may have seen your blood pressure readings recorded as two numbers. The first number is called the systolic pressure and represents the force against your arteries when your heart beats. The second, called the diastolic number, is lower abs represents the force when the heart is resting. Healthy adults have a blood pressure reading of around 120/80. Some variation in blood pressure is normal and it can rise with stress or physical activity. But consistently high blood pressure can cause serious health problems which may require minor emergency services.
Why should high blood pressure be treated?
Many people who have high blood pressure don’t realize it. It can be a silent killer, when the damage it causes suddenly manifests itself, requiring emergency care services. In fact heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. Hypertension plays a major part in heart disease, and this is why it can be important to monitor your blood pressure regularly. While some variations in blood pressure are normal, if it stays high, you may need to see a doctor at a heart hospital.
If left untreated, high blood pressure can damage the arteries, causing stroke or heart attacks. Heart disease kills about 610,000 people every year in the U.S., and hypertension is an important contributing factor. It can also harm the eyes, brain and kidneys. A condition of high blood pressure is diagnosed when a person records readings of 130/80 or higher at least twice. If a reading of 180/120 or higher is recorded, minor emergency services are needed.
How is high blood pressure treated?
Hypertension most often occurs in people who have family histories of diabetes and heart disease. It is also more common among those who are over 55 years of age, less active, obese or who are heavy smokers and drinkers. It is also associated with a high salt diet, use of medications like ibuprofen and decongestants, and drug use. Hypertension is most often treated through lifestyle changes that emphasize a healthy diet, regular exercise, weight loss and quitting smoking.
While a heart surgeon may be required for minor emergency services in case of a heart attack or stroke resulting from hypertension, in most cases treatment at a cardiovascular center can begin before a major illness happens. Cardiologists may prescribe medications to bring blood pressure readings down to 140/90 for patients who are under 60 years of age. For patients over 60 years, the acceptable range is 150/90. For hypertension as for many chronic conditions, prevention is the best cure.
Hypertension is a widely prevalent cardiovascular disease which can be prevented and controlled through medication and lifestyle changes. If left untreated, it may result in illnesses requiring major or minor emergency services. A healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet is the best preventive treatment.