Hypertension is another word for high blood pressure. Although your blood pressure normally fluctuates throughout the day depending on what you are doing, if your blood pressure is constantly above normal, you may have hypertension.
Ronald L. VanderLaan is a cardiologist in Grand Rapids that treats many patients who suffer from hypertension—read on to learn how he can help your blood pressure issues.
High Blood Pressure: The Silent Killer
An estimated one in three Americans suffers from high blood pressure. It is often called the silent killer because many people experience no symptoms. If you do develop symptoms, they may include:
- Blurred vision
- Breathing difficulties
- Chest pain
Even without symptoms, high blood pressure can still cause damage to your heart and blood vessels. Left untreated, high blood pressure can increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack. Fortunately, hypertension is easily detected if you have a routine blood pressure check. Once you have been diagnosed, your doctor will help you manage your high blood pressure.
Types of Hypertension
There are two types of hypertension:
- Primary Hypertension: Also known as essential hypertension, this type usually develops gradually over several years. The cause of primary hypertension is not known.
- Secondary Hypertension: In this case, hypertension is caused by an underlying condition. Its onset can be sudden, and the blood pressure is usually higher than in cases of primary hypertension. Conditions that can cause secondary hypertension include:
- Kidney problems
- Sleep apnea
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Congenital defects
- Thyroid problems
How you can Take Control of Your Blood Pressure
You can significantly lower your blood pressure by making some relatively simple lifestyle adjustments, such as:
- Maintain a healthy weight level
- Stop smoking
- Eat regular meals
- Avoid saturated fat
- Reduce your sodium intake
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Get regular aerobic exercise
- Limit your intake of alcohol
- Limit your intake of caffeine
When it comes to high blood pressure, making these simple lifestyle changes can mean the difference between life and death.
If you live in Grand Rapids, MI, and are concerned about hypertension, call Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141.