When you get a blood pressure measurement, it tells you how much blood is passing through your vessels, along with the amount of resistance the blood meets while the heart is pumping. In simpler terms, blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels.
High blood pressure (HBP or hypertension), is a common condition in which blood pressure increases to unhealthy levels.
Nearly half of American adults are diagnosed with hypertension and, over the long term, HBP can lead to complications such as heart disease, arrhythmia and stroke.
This is because HBP inflicts harm by increasing the workload of the blood vessels and heart. The blood vessels and heart begin working harder and less efficiently and, eventually, the friction of HPB corrodes the tissues of the arteries.
A lot of people with hypertension won’t know that they have it because it often has no symptoms. Nearly one third of people with HBP don’t know they have it: That’s why regular blood pressure readings, using a snug-fitting pressure cuff, are crucial.
Be on the lookout
If you exhibit HBP over an extended period of time, your doctor will likely recommend lifestyle changes and/or medications used to treat hypertension.
Additionally, people with very high blood pressure should be on the lookout for symptoms that may indicate a hypertensive crisis. These include:
- Severe headache
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears
If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away. A hypertensive crisis may lead to a heart attack or stroke but, with treatment, you’ll likely be able to extinguish the crisis before further damage is done.
Remember, the best way to prevent HBP complications is to catch hypertension early through regular readings at your doctor’s office or at home.