This month we will discuss high blood pressure. Roughly 25%-30% of adults have high blood pressure. Because there are no initial symptoms, 30% do not know they have it. The risk for death and disability from cardiovascular disease doubles for every 20/10 mmHg elevation in blood pressure. High blood pressure and its complications cost the U.S. economy more than $100 billion each year.
There are several categories of blood pressure, including: Normal: Less than 120/80, Prehypertension: 120-139/80-89, Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159/90-99 and Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above. It is necessary to measure your blood pressure at different times while resting comfortably for at least five minutes to find out your typical value. One high blood pressure reading is not enough to diagnose hypertension.
There is no known cause of high blood pressures but there are risk factors including genetics, smoking, alcohol, obesity, too much salt, lack of exercise, stress, age, kidney disease and more. High blood pressure is a risk factor for coronary heart disease including heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, aneurysms, peripheral vascular disease and renal failure.
Treatment varies from lifestyle changes to medications. Medications are chosen depending on the patient’s medical disorders, illnesses, allergies or medical issues the patient might have. Lifestyle changes include weight reduction, salt reduction, stopping alcohol and tobacco, increasing exercise, DASH diet (look in the internet for diet), decrease stress and more.
As always, please discuss any problems with your personal doctor. Stay healthy.
James Chanez, M.D.
Presbyterian Hospitals of Dallas