FAQs about Hypertension
Hypertension, commonly called high blood pressure, is one of those sneaky conditions that can affect your health without causing noticeable symptoms. Fortunately, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan, your cardiologist at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI, can help you manage your blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing hypertension-related health conditions.
Why is high blood pressure dangerous?
The pressure created by the pumping action of your heart helps blood reach every part of your body. Higher than normal pressure causes the heart to work harder and damages the vessels that transport the blood. When the blood vessels become damaged, you're more likely to develop atherosclerosis. The condition occurs when plaque builds up and hardens in your arteries, reducing blood flow and limiting the amount of oxygen the heart receives. Unfortunately, atherosclerosis is also a factor in high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can increase your risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, angina, peripheral artery disease, irregular heartbeat, vision loss, and erectile dysfunction.
What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
You can have high blood pressure even if you feel perfectly fine. In fact, hypertension rarely causes symptoms unless it's severe. Even though you might not experience any symptoms, your blood vessels and heart may still be damaged by the condition.
If you have severe hypertension, you may experience:
- Blurry vision
- Blood in the urine
- A pounding sensation in your ears, neck or chest
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
If you experience these symptoms, call your Grand Rapids heart doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.
How can I reduce my hypertension risk?
Embracing a heart-healthy diet is a simple way to lower your risk of hypertension. Fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish, lean meats and whole grains provide the vitamins and nutrients you need for good health. Avoid or limit salty or sugary foods and use unsaturated fats when preparing meals.
Regular blood pressure screenings are also important. Although your blood pressure may have always been fine in the past, your risk of hypertension rises as you grow older.
If you are diagnosed with hypertension, your cardiologist can recommend lifestyle modifications and prescribe medications that lower your blood pressure, if necessary.
Concerned? Give us a call
Protect your health with hypertension treatment and screenings at Grand Rapids Cardiology! Call your Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist, Dr. Vanderlaan, at (616) 717-5141 to schedule your appointment.