Over 500,000 people died from hypertension in 2019. Almost half of American adults have some degree of the disease, also called high blood pressure, and of these 116 million, only one-quarter of them have the disease under control.
Without regular testing with medical equipment, there’s often no way to know you have hypertension, which is a major reason why so many people are unaware they have the condition. It’s also a significant reason why regular visits with your doctor keep your health on track.
Internist Prabhdeep Singh, M.D., F.A.C.P. is a high blood pressure specialist. When you need hypertension monitoring and management, Dr. Singh and his team are here to help. The first step in managing your high blood pressure comes by understanding the risk factors contributing to your condition.
The definition of high blood pressure
Hypertension occurs when the pressure of the blood inside your arteries is higher than normal. It’s a condition that can cause damage over time, contributing to other health conditions, including heart disease.
It’s easy to test for high blood pressure. The most accurate testing is done with the blood pressure cuff you see in your doctor’s office, and there are many good home testing units available at reasonable prices. Multiple tests over time are the only way to know if you have hypertension, particularly in its early stages.
The cuff tests for systolic pressure, the higher number which occurs when your heart beats, and diastolic pressure, the lower level between beats. The numbers are expressed together. Normal blood pressure is 120 over 80, or 120/80.
You have elevated blood pressure if your systolic level is between 120 and 129 and your diastolic reading is 80 or less.
Stage 1 hypertension starts when systolic pressure is 130 to 139, or diastolic levels are between 80 and 89.
Stage 2 hypertension begins when levels are over 140 or 90.
Hypertension risk factors
There are some risks that you can’t avoid. Your family history is important because if others in your family have high blood pressure, you’re more likely to have it too. Other unavoidable risk factors include:
- Age: your risk increases as you get older
- Gender: men are more prone to hypertension than women
- Race: African-Americans have a higher rate of hypertension overall, as well as more severe cases
There are risk factors that you can avoid or alter with lifestyle choices. These factors are:
- Sedentary lifestyle: increasing daily activity levels can help lower blood pressure
- Smoking: tobacco use is a significant contributor to hypertension
- Bodyweight: extra pounds increase the demands on your circulatory system
- Diet: regular consumption of high levels of salt, sugar, and saturated fats can increase blood pressure
- Alcohol: excessive or frequent use of alcohol contributes to hypertension
- Medical conditions: diabetes and high cholesterol are associated with hypertension
- Sleep apnea: this sleep disorder can cause your blood pressure to rise overnight
When it’s time to get serious about blood pressure management, contact Prabhdeep Singh, M.D., F.A.C.P., You can reach his El Centro, California office by phone or online. The consequences of hypertension are too dangerous to ignore. Book your consultation today.