Every minute of every day, your heart continuously pumps oxygenated blood throughout your body. Simultaneously, deoxygenated blood removes waste and travels back to your heart. Blood pressure is a measurement that describes the force of blood against the walls of your arteries as this exchange occurs.
Any time you get a blood pressure reading at the doctor’s office or your local pharmacy, you receive a reading with two numbers. The first, or systolic blood pressure, describes the pressure of blood while your heart is mid-beat, while the second, or diastolic blood pressure, represents the pressure while your heart is at rest between beats.
You may have high blood pressure (hypertension) despite having no pain, breathing problems, fatigue, or other symptoms you might associate with cardiovascular health. That’s right, high blood pressure typically doesn’t cause any symptoms.
How common is high blood pressure?
Many people don’t realize just how common hypertension is, and underdiagnosis is a significant reason. In fact, hypertension affects almost half of adults in the United States.
Your blood pressure gradually gets higher with age, but many common habits and behaviors can jeopardize your blood pressure too. Your risk of high blood pressure might be elevated because of:
- A sedentary lifestyle
- A sodium-heavy diet
- Drinking alcohol
- Illegal drug use
- Excessive stress
- Excessive body fat
However, high blood pressure isn’t always linked to your lifestyle. Hypertension can occur without an apparent cause or can develop as a complication of another condition, like kidney disease or obstructive sleep apnea.
What can go wrong
Don’t mistake a lack of symptoms for a lack of harm when it comes to high blood pressure. The condition can do significant damage to your organs and tissues without any warning signs.
Complications of high blood pressure include other cardiovascular conditions and several other health problems, including:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Heart disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Vision loss
- Metabolic syndrome
Complications arise because of the damage high blood pressure does to the blood vessels in the organs and tissues.
Your next steps
Our primary care team at Princeton Sports and Family Medicine, P.C., in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, strives to always provide comprehensive medical care. Our team will interpret your blood pressure reading and if necessary, explore the possible sources of your hypertension. They will help you establish healthy habits to keep your blood pressure in check and can prescribe medications if lifestyle changes are not successful in lowering your blood pressure.
Schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Princeton Sports and Family Medicine, P.C., to build a healthier life free of high blood pressure.