Sunday, December 16, 2012

Don't Play with your Pressure!

The most common primary medical diagnosis in the United States is hypertension, or high blood pressure. The most common question I get from my patients is "why do I have high blood pressure", followed directly by "how can I make it better"?

Believe it or not, you are most certainly not alone. 1 in 3 Americans has hypertension, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. So what causes it? Well, to be honest we are not quite sure. There are some cases that may be reversible, such as obesity, but typically there are no identifiable causes. In this case, it is called essential hypertension, and affects 90-095% of people. Patients that have essential hypertension are typically tried on diet correction (low salt) and exercise (leading to possible weight loss) prior to the start of medications. There are some cases however, which require medication first and foremost, if the pressure is just too high.

My friend learning her blood pressure.
It's never too early to learn your
The second, and obviously more rare causes of hypertension are what other name then "secondary" hypertension. The causes of secondary hypertension include kidney problems, some medications (such as oral contraceptives and pain relievers) and illegal drugs. Luckily, the majority of secondary hypertension cases are reversible with discontinuation of the causative agents or correction of kidney problems (not always possible, though).

So why is high blood pressure education so important? Well, it is called the "silent killer" because a typical patient does not feel anything. Currently, you may have a severely elevated blood pressure, and not even know it. High blood pressure leads to cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the US. That's why it is SO important to be seen by a physician annually and get your BP checked. (This applies to everyone...even young adults and teenagers!)

What's normal? Less than 120/80. The first (or top) number is the pressure in your arteries when the heart is contracting/beating. The second (or bottom) is the pressure in your arteries when your heart is resting. There are various stages above this number that are pre-hypertension, stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension.

It you don't know your BP go find out now! It may just save your life!

Until next time,


  1. It is true, hypertension is very known as the "silent killer" as the patient will not feel anything most of the time. It would be best for us to have a digital blood pressure monitor at home so that we can check our blood pressure anytime we want.

  2. Thanks for tips. I love your other tips.I would like to share a little bit.On the off chance that you have prehypertension — systolic pressure somewhere around 120 and 139 or diastolic pressure somewhere around 80 and 89 — activity can help you abstain from creating all out hypertension. In the event that you as of now have hypertension, standard physical movement can cut your blood pressure down to more secure levels. Best of luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Lowering Blood Pressure