Hypertension—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it afflicts 75 million adults in the United States, often without the carrier's knowledge. This "silent killer" could seriously damage your health, with you being none the wiser. At Grand Rapids Cardiology, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan treats high blood pressure for better cardiovascular health and overall well-being. Learn the signs and dangers of this chronic health condition and how to manage it.
What is high blood pressure?
As your blood moves through your circulatory system, perfusing your bodily organs with oxygen and nutrients, your blood vessels experience substantial pumping forces. Measured either at home or at your physician's office, your blood pressure indicates how hard your heart and blood vessels are working. Blood pressure within a certain range is healthy, while measures that are too high indicate excessive physical strain on the heart, lungs, and other organs such as the kidneys, liver, and brain.
The American Heart Association indicates that people with high blood pressure often don't know they have it as they are relatively asymptomatic. Other people, however, experience troublesome signs such as:
- Mental confusion
- Chest pain
- Pounding heartbeat
Clinically, any blood pressure reading higher than 120/80 is considered elevated and measurements beyond that are diagnostic for hypertension. Hypertension is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease, and as such, our Grand Rapids office will carefully monitor hypertensive patients and craft individualized care plans to help them manage their numbers and their symptoms.
Possible treatments may necessitate that you take your blood pressure regularly with an at-home blood pressure monitor. Keeping a log of your readings and any symptoms can help you manage your numbers. Other approaches may require that patients take blood pressure medications to keep their blood pressure within normal ranges. Also, all individuals who are pre-hypertensive or who have the actual diagnosis should:
- Quit all tobacco usage
- Limit their alcohol consumption
- Eat a low fat, low salt, high fiber diet
- Exercise three to five times a week (simple walking for 30 minutes is fine)
- Lose weight
- Reduce stress
- Control their blood sugars (if diabetic)
Although hypertension can run in families, heredity can be overcome with careful management of other risk factors and lifestyle elements.
It's your life
Protect it from the harmful side effects of hypertension. For expert help, contact Grand Rapids Cardiology for an assessment. Dr. Ronald VanderLaan and his team excel at personalized care plans and communication. Call today for an appointment: (616) 717-5141.