Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels as it travels from the heart throughout the body. Your blood pressure is determined by a variety of factors, such as the total volume of blood in your body, your heart rate, and the amount of resistance it meets as it flows through blood vessels.
High blood pressure damages vessel walls, creating rough areas where excess cholesterol easily accumulates. The longer you go with untreated hypertension, the more time cholesterol has to build up and develop plaque, which hardens and narrows your arteries — a condition called atherosclerosis.
Hypertension has a significant impact on your health, raising your risk for:
Some people are more likely to have high blood pressure because it runs in their family. While you can’t change genetics, you can control these other factors that contribute to hypertension:
While hypertension can arise from underlying health conditions like obstructive sleep apnea and thyroid problems, in 90-95% of all those with the condition, it develops over time from lifestyle and genetic factors.
Treatment for hypertension takes a three-tiered approach that incorporates lifestyle changes, medications, and treating any underlying health conditions that may be present. The first step is to look at your risk factors and determine ways to modify the ones that affect your blood pressure.
Lowering your sodium intake is one of the most important lifestyle changes you can make because an excess of salt increases your blood volume. Depending on the severity of your hypertension, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and losing weight may be the only treatment you need to get your blood pressure back to normal.
Dr. Jindal prescribes medications to lower blood pressure when lifestyle changes don’t help or if your blood pressure is dangerously high. He determines the most appropriate medication for your health, choosing from a variety of possible medications, such as beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
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