Hypertension refers to high blood pressure. Blood pressure is an essential factor when determining the fitness of a patient's cardiovascular system and heart. It measures the amount of blood the heart pumps and how much resistance blood meets when moving through the arteries. The harder the heart works and the more resistance blood meets, the higher the numbers go. Over time, untreated hypertension can lead to serious health problems including a heart attack or stroke.
This is one of the major problems with this particular condition. For most people, there are no symptoms, which is why Dr. Perez screens for it by taking blood pressure readings with each visit. Occasionally, patients will complain of headaches or shortness of breath, but it's not unusual to feel perfectly fine and still have high blood pressure.
Anyone can develop high blood pressure, but there are some key risk factors Dr. Perez watches for such as:
People can develop high blood pressure even when they don't fall into one of these categories, though, especially as they age. Lifestyle has a lot to do with it. Often just making a few changes is all it takes to lower those numbers and reduce the risks.
Blood pressure is rarely consistent, and it’s affected by many things. Even just going to the doctor can cause your blood pressure to increase. This is why Dr. Perez will take a reading more than once before making a diagnosis. A blood pressure reading that is consistently from 140 to 159 for the systolic -- or upper number -- and 90 to 99 for the diastolic -- or lower number -- is considered stage one hypertension. The higher the numbers go the greater the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Treatment is usually a combination of drug therapy and lifestyle changes. Even if Dr. Perez initially puts a patient on medication to control the blood pressure, the right combination of lifestyle changes may mean it's just temporary. Eating right and staying active can lower the blood pressure naturally and eliminate the need for medication.
At SunCoast Premier Medical, most major insurances are accepted. For a complete list, please call our office before the scheduled appointment and speak with one of our knowledgable staff members to verify coverage.