Cardiologist & Interventional Cardiologist located in Washington, DC & Silver Spring, MD
Blood pressure measurement is a quick, straightforward process and should be a routine part of your health care. The consequences of having high blood pressure, or hypertension, can be devastating. Board-certified cardiologist Luc Oke, MD, and his team at Heart Consultants in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Washington, DC, offer blood pressure testing and help with lifestyle changes to reduce your blood pressure to healthy levels. Call the office closest to you today to find out more or use the online form to book an appointment.
High Blood Pressure Q & A
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common health problem that arises when your blood pumps along your arteries with too much force. It can cause widespread damage to your blood vessels and lead to serious heart problems, kidney failure, or stroke.
Despite the dangers it presents to your health, you could have high blood pressure and not be aware of the risks it poses because the condition is virtually symptomless.
It's therefore essential to have regular blood pressure checks to identify any increases before your hypertension reaches a dangerous stage.
How is blood pressure measured?
To take a blood pressure reading, your Heart Consultants provider wraps an inflatable cuff around your upper arm. A machine pumps air into the cuff, which puts pressure on your arteries.
Two measurements are taken — one when your heart beats, known as the systolic pressure, and another in between heartbeats, the diastolic pressure.
What does my blood pressure reading mean?
Your reading indicates how healthy your blood pressure is on a scale. A healthy blood pressure reading would be 120 over 80 or lower. That means your systolic blood pressure is 120 or below, and your diastolic blood pressure is 80 or below.
If your blood pressure is between 121 and 139 systolic or 81 and 89 diastolic, it means you have raised blood pressure. If you act now, you can reduce it and avoid serious health problems.
If your blood pressure is over 140 systolic or 90 diastolic, you have high blood pressure. Without treatment, you could face serious, potentially life-threatening health issues.
A blood pressure measurement of over 160 systolic or 100 diastolic is dangerously high, meaning there's a very real chance you could soon suffer a stroke or heart attack.
What causes high blood pressure?
There are two kinds of high blood pressure:
This is typically due to lifestyle factors such as:
- Lack of exercise
- High-fat diet
- Excessive salt intake
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Chronic stress
Primary hypertension is increasingly likely as you age.
This form of high blood pressure might develop as a complication of an existing health condition, like thyroid disease.
How is high blood pressure treated?
If you have secondary hypertension, treating the underlying condition should reduce your blood pressure.
If you have primary hypertension, making healthy changes to the way you live is key to reducing your blood pressure. Dr. Oke helps you make the necessary changes, which might be the only treatment you need.
Some patients need blood pressure medication if they have high blood pressure that presents a risk of serious health problems.
Call Heart Consultants today to arrange a blood pressure check or book an appointment online.