Could You Have High Blood Pressure and Not Know it?

High blood pressure is often called a silent killer because you may not know your blood pressure is dangerously high until you start showing symptoms. Perhaps that’s why, as of 2018, an estimated 103 million people, roughly half of US adults, had high blood pressure.

So, yes, you could have high blood pressure and not know it.

The doctors at Sure Medical PC in Elmhurst, New York, want you to live a long and healthy life. And the more you know about high blood pressure, the more you’ll be able to take the steps necessary to lower it.

What is high blood pressure?

Here’s a short physiology lesson.

The human body needs oxygenated blood to function properly. Each heartbeat, which pumps blood to your tissues and organs, creates pressure on your circulatory system. The primary way that high blood pressure causes harm is by increasing the workload of the heart and blood vessels — making them work harder and less efficiently.

When your doctor takes your blood pressure, it’s to measure two things. The systolic pressure describes the force when the heart pumps blood out of its chambers and through the blood vessels, and the diastolic pressure is created by the resting heart between beats.

Slightly high blood pressure is asymptomatic. Dangerously high blood pressure, however, can cause headaches, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, lightheadedness, and chest pain. High blood pressure ultimately can lead to heart attack, stroke, vision loss, kidney disease, and sexual dysfunction.

What the numbers mean

When you book your annual checkup, your doctor will take your vital signs, including your blood pressure. The reading will consist of two numbers. The top number is systolic and the second number is diastolic. A blood pressure reading of 120 systolic over 80 diastolic is considered ideal. Higher numbers describe stages of hypertension (high blood pressure).

How to control high blood pressure

The first thing to do is get a home blood pressure monitor, so you can keep track of your numbers. Consider taking your blood pressure several times a day, at first, so you can understand how your numbers change.

Your doctor may put you on blood pressure medicine to lower your numbers, but you may be able to lower your pressure by making lifestyle changes, including:

If you catch high blood pressure early, you often can bring it down. The best way to detect a problem is at your annual physical at Sure Medical PC. To schedule your consultation, call 718-760-0797, or request an appointment using our online scheduling tool. You can also send a message to our team here on the website.

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