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Understanding Blood Pressure

Dallas High Blood Pressure Care

What is blood pressure? Blood pressure is, simply put, the force of blood against the walls of your arteries. Two numbers are recorded to measure blood pressure – systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure measures blood pressure when the heart beats – think of it as the pressure with which the heart pumps blood. Diastolic pressure, on the other hand, refers to the pressure in your arties between beats. In this way, diastolic pressure measures the degree to which your arteries relax between beats. Blood pressure monitors record blood pressure with the systolic number on the top and the diastolic number on the bottom.

What do the Numbers Mean?

The American Heart Association recommends a blood pressure reading of 135 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) over 85 mmHg. Ideally, normal blood pressure is considered “acceptable” when it is 135 systolic (or lower) over 85 diastolic (or lower). Until recently, “normal” blood pressure was anything less than 120 mmHg systolic over 80 mmHg diastolic.

However, due to various factors related to age, quantifiable benefits related to heart disease, stroke, and other factors, these numbers were recently revised. However, these revisions are somewhat controversial and typically pertain to a person’s age and whether or not they have certain kinds of conditions such as diabetes.

Treating High Blood Pressure

If your blood pressure reading is consistently high when you visit your doctor, he or she may discuss the advisability of putting you on blood pressure medicine. While it isn’t completely clear what causes high blood pressure, certain factors are statistically related to it: obesity, lack of physical activity, age, drinking, smoking, and bad eating habits. Since high blood pressure often doesn’t manifest any clearly identifiable symptoms, people are surprised to learn that they have high blood pressure.

Treating high blood pressure usually involves taking medication. Diuretics are often prescribed because they have very few negative side effects and have a long history of use. Diuretics cause urination which removes water and sodium from the body. This helps reduce blood pressure. Other medications – referred to as calcium channel blockers – prevent the entry of calcium into muscles cells of the heart and arteries. This helps the veins and arteries to dilate, allowing the heart to pump more efficiently while lowering blood pressure.

Other medications, called angiotensin receptor blockers, prevent angiotensin II from causing your arties to narrow, reducing your blood pressure as a result. This helps your kidneys work more efficiently as well.

High Blood Pressure? Talk to One of Our Doctors

If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to organ damage, heart attacks, even stroke. Combined with exercise and a healthy diet, using any one of the blood pressure medications available today can manage your high blood pressure effectively.
To learn more about high blood pressure and how our doctors can help you, contact Hillcrest Medical today at (214) 368-3800 for more information about schedule an appointment.

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