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All About High Blood Pressure


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Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls. The force is generated with each heartbeat as blood is pumped from the heart into the blood vessels. The size and elasticity of the artery walls also affect blood pressure. Each time the heart beats (contracts and relaxes), pressure is created inside the arteries. High blood pressure, or hypertension, directly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. But high blood pressure can be controlled. Listen as Dr. Jeff Sparling, cardiologist for INTEGRIS Health, explains.
Hi. My name is Doctor Jeff Sparling, cardiologist with INTEGRIS Health. I'd like a few moments of your time today to speak with you about high blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension as it is often known to your medical professional is a problem that affects nearly 30 percent the United States adult population. This is estimated at approximately 60 million Americans who suffer with high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a very important cause of heart attack and stroke. It is also implicated in the progression of kidney disease oftentimes to kidney failure that requires dialysis. High blood pressure when caught early is reversible and can be controlled with many lifestyle changes as well as medications. One of the things your doctor and you will talk about is lifestyle change and how it might affect your blood pressure. Losing weight, reducing the amount of salt in your diet, and exercising are very effective ways lowering blood pressure without medications. When these lifestyle changes are not enough your doctor may decide to start you on blood pressure medication or antihypertensive therapy as it is known. There are a number of types of blood pressure medicines. What is important is the lowering of your blood pressure not necessarily the type medication that you are on. But your doctor may choose specific medicines tailored to other health care problems that you might have. Most blood pressure medicines are very well tolerated but it is important if you experience side effects to discuss them with your physician. Your doctor will talk about side effects and the potential for issues when starting any medicine with you but if you have questions or concerns you should always ask. Medicine alone is often not enough and certainly lifestyle changes as I alluded to earlier are also important to do in concert with medication. Together these two things can often help improve blood pressure to normal levels. High blood pressure is typically defined as a top or systolic number the 140 millimeters of mercury or greater and a bottom or diastolic number 80 millimeters of mercury or greater. Your doctor may find values in his office that are higher than this. and oftentimes he will also ask you to keep a home blood pressure log to help guide therapy. I encourage you not to be one of the sixty million people that goes undiagnosed. Please talk with your doctor about this today. Thank you for your time.

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