Hypertension is often a silent condition that can significantly increase your risk of serious complications, including stroke and heart disease. At Battlefield Family Medicine & Weight Management in Manassas, Virginia, Nicholas Tavani, MD, PhD, finds the underlying cause of your hypertension to treat the condition and reduce your risk of complications. Call Battlefield Family Medicine & Weight Management or schedule an appointment online now to learn more.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, occurs when the impact of your blood against your blood vessel walls is consistently too high. How hard your heart works to pump blood throughout your body, combined with the resistance of blood flow in your arteries, is what determines your blood pressure. If your heart is working hard to pump blood, but your arteries are hard and narrow, you may have hypertension.
What makes hypertension difficult to diagnose is that it rarely causes symptoms. Because it’s a gradual condition, you may not realize you have hypertension for several years. In rare instances, high blood pressure can cause:
Without proper care, hypertension can lead to serious complications, including aneurysm, stroke, and even heart attack.
Primary hypertension has no known cause, but there are several factors that can increase your risk, including:
Being overweight means your body needs to circulate more oxygen-rich blood to your vital organs and tissues. The sheer volume of blood circulating throughout your body can put pressure on your artery walls.
The nicotine and tar in tobacco not only increase your blood pressure, they also damage your artery walls over time.
Women are most likely to develop hypertension after the age of 65. However, men are typically at a higher risk of high blood pressure.
A high-salt, low-potassium diet causes your body to retain fluids, which increases your blood pressure.
Routine heavy drinking raises your blood pressure and puts stress on your heart.
While stress temporarily raises your blood pressure, stress-reducing activities, such as drinking alcohol, eating, or smoking, can exacerbate the problem.
Cholesterol helps build your cells, but too much of it can lead to fatty deposits in your blood. High cholesterol can clog your arteries, and this is dangerous if your arteries are already hardened and narrowed due to hypertension.
There are a number of medications that can help treat hypertension, including thiazide diuretics and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Along with medication, a heart-healthy, low-sodium diet can improve your blood pressure and help you lose weight.
It’s also important to exercise regularly with hypertension. Exercise increases the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, in your blood to help remove the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Lifestyle modifications, including quitting smoking, reducing stress, and limiting your alcohol consumption are all heart-healthy changes that can help treat hypertension.
Call Battlefield Family Medicine & Weight Management today to schedule an appointment or book online.