Uncontrolled high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, damages the heart and blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to various organs. Hypertension is a silent epidemic.
Many people who have high blood pressure are unaware of it. It’s estimated that 100 million people in the United States have hypertension and another 59 million have prehypertension. Having hypertension increases your risk for serious health issues.
Internal medicine physician Samuel I. Fink, MD, helps patients manage a full spectrum of health conditions, including high blood pressure. Hypertension is treatable, and with the proper care, you can protect and improve your overall health. If you have high blood pressure, Dr. Fink can help you get it under control. Here’s what he wants you to know about the best strategies for managing hypertension.
Consequences of unmanaged high blood pressure
Uncontrolled high blood pressure has major consequences for your health. The following are some of the ways hypertension can affect your health if left untreated.
Heart attack and stroke
Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. When blood pressure remains consistently high, blood vessels become damaged and can weaken and clog. A blockage in blood flow to the heart or brain can trigger a devastating heart attack or stroke.
High blood pressure forces your heart to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. Over time, the increased workload can cause the heart to weaken, which can lead to heart failure, a condition in which your heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet your body’s demand.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure causes the delicate blood vessels that supply the kidneys with blood to stiffen, weaken, and narrow over time. The persistent damage can cause kidney disease and kidney failure.
Effective approaches for managing hypertension
Normal blood pressure is below 120/80. The goal is to get your blood pressure within the target range that Dr. Fink sets for you. The following are effective ways to get your blood pressure under control.
Making changes to your diet and lifestyle is the first line of defense against high blood pressure and the cornerstone of managing hypertension. Slashing your salt intake, boosting your consumption of fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits, and limiting saturated fat intake play a role in controlling blood pressure.
Vegetables and fruits are rich in minerals, including potassium, which promotes healthy blood pressure. People with high blood pressure should limit sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg per day.
Lifestyle modifications go along with changes in diet to keep blood pressure under control. Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle involves:
- Losing weight if you’re overweight
- Quitting smoking
- Getting plenty of exercise
- Engaging in stress-relieving activities
- Managing risk factors like high cholesterol
Making these changes to your lifestyle goes a long way in controlling blood pressure.
Blood pressure-lowering medication
Many people with hypertension may need medication to control their blood pressure. These are the primary medications used to manage blood pressure:
- Diuretics help your body release salt
- Beta-blockers block adrenaline to bring blood pressure down
- Calcium channel blockers slow the movement of calcium into cells, which lowers blood pressure
- ACE inhibitors widen and relax blood vessels
It’s common for people to take a combination of medications to ensure that their blood pressure stays under control.
Managing hypertension is a commitment that lasts a lifetime, and Dr. Fink is here to provide support and guidance every step of the way. If you’re ready to take control of your blood pressure and improve your health, call 818-609-0700 to schedule a visit with Dr. Fink.