Also known as high blood pressure.
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it might come as a surprise, since most people with this condition aren’t aware of having any symptoms. People with severe hypertension may notice an increase in headaches, changes in their vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, or confusion, but even in severe cases, these symptoms may not occur.
A person’s blood pressure may increase as a result of hardening or narrowing of arteries or because of an excess volume of blood in the system. Unmanaged stress or poor-quality sleep can also contribute to high blood pressure. And sometimes hypertension is a secondary effect of another health condition.
If left untreated, hypertension can lead to serious medical problems. If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms, seek medical care immediately.
There are two types of hypertension, which are distinguished by their different causes.
Primary hypertension, also called essential hypertension, develops as we age. Many people naturally experience a buildup of plaque in their arteries over the years, and the resulting narrowing of the arteries causes an increase in blood pressure.
Secondary hypertension is related to other health issues. This type of high blood pressure can occur as a result of obstructive sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, poor stress management, kidney issues, thyroid problems, medication use, or congenital blood vessel defects.
The first step in treating hypertension is determining whether there is an underlying cause. If so, the doctors at Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates will create a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses both the elevated blood pressure readings and what’s driving them. Whenever possible, this plan will rely on lifestyle changes and will include medications only when necessary. The best treatment option may also depend on any other medical conditions you have, which your doctor will take into account.
If you have elevated blood pressure, you can prevent the condition from getting worse by engaging in a healthy, active lifestyle. Be sure to limit the amount of alcohol you consume, monitor your sodium intake, and quit smoking if you smoke. Regular exercise can also help. Hypertension is a serious medical concern, but it can be managed and in some cases even reversed.