Maybe you have a family history. Maybe you’ve been really stressed recently. Or maybe you just have a gut feeling—it never hurts to check to see if you have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Nearly 30% of adult Americans have hypertension, and 1 in 5 don’t know they have it, because most of those afflicted don’t show symptoms.
Even without any obvious effects, hypertension is no joke—the damage it causes to the circulatory system increases the risk of many serious diseases and conditions, including heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease.
So, what is hypertension, exactly? Basically, it’s when your blood pressure, which is the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently and chronically too high. Healthy blood vessels are flexible, strong, and elastic, but hypertension causes harm by increasing the workload for your heart and blood vessels—they work harder and less efficiently. Over time this damages the arteries, which also leads to the formation of LDL cholesterol plaque, further raising blood pressure. Hypertension makes the blood vessels stiff, narrowed, and unable to respond to changing demands of critical organs including the heart, brain, and kidneys. Doesn’t sound great, right? So, what causes it, and how can we prevent and control this condition?
As mentioned earlier, a lot of individuals that have high blood pressure don’t even show symptoms. But there are some clear-cut signs that signal an issue might be present. Severe headache, fatigue, vision problems, trouble breathing, irregular heartbeat, and chest pain are all possible symptoms of high blood pressure.
What are ways to prevent hypertension, even if you are genetically predisposed to it? The American Heart Association has a few recommendations, including:
If you are concerned about your blood pressure or whether symptoms that you are having are related to hypertension, stop by a vybe urgent care today. All our locations do blood pressure screenings and can help you figure out what to do next.