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The Dangers of Hypertension

The Dangers of Hypertension

About half of American adults have hypertension (high blood pressure), which is a chronic medical problem that dramatically increases your risk for serious — even life-threatening — complications. To reduce those risks, you need to play a proactive role in managing and controlling your blood pressure, and our team can help.

Houston Kidney Specialists Center in Houston and Cypress, Texas, is a leading provider of hypertension treatments. In this post, our team provides a quick overview of hypertension and its potential complications, along with some tips on what you can do to keep your blood pressure under control.

The basics of hypertension

A blood pressure test measures the pressure that blood exerts on the walls of your arteries during normal circulation. Furthermore, this test is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), and it records two types of pressure: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure.

Systolic pressure measures the pressure inside your arteries when your heart beats, and diastolic pressure measures the pressure inside your arteries between beats, when your heart is resting. Under current guidelines, a healthy systolic reading is 119 mmHg or below, and a healthy diastolic reading is 79 mmHg or below. If you had the numbers just listed, it would be written as 119/79 mmHg.

Readings of 120/80 mmHg to 129/80 mmHg are considered elevated, and readings higher than this go from Stage 1 hypertension, to Stage 2 hypertension, to hypertensive crisis, depending on the numbers.

High blood pressure often happens when sticky plaques form along the inside of the walls of the arteries, narrowing the arteries and making it harder for blood to circulate. However, hypertension can also be caused by other problems, such as the following:

Hypertension can also happen if you take certain medications on a regular basis, including some decongestant medicines and certain types of birth control.

The dangers of hypertension

Although hypertension is common, it rarely causes any symptoms on its own, which means many people don’t know they have hypertension until they experience a serious complication, such as:

Typically, these complications happen because plaques inside your arteries interfere with blood flow, making it harder for your organs to receive the oxygen they need to stay healthy.

High blood pressure also damages the inside of your blood vessels. This damage causes tiny tears or rough spots in the artery walls, making it easier for harmful plaques to form. In addition to interfering with circulation to your organs, plaque buildup can lead to peripheral artery disease (PAD) in your legs or arms.

Managing hypertension

Since hypertension often causes no symptoms, having regular blood pressure measurements is important for identifying hypertension as early as possible. Once you’re diagnosed with hypertension, the next step is learning how to manage your blood pressure to keep it within a healthy range.

Our team often combines medications with lifestyle changes to help our patients manage hypertension. These changes can include things like:

We also help you learn effective ways to manage underlying conditions, such as diabetes or kidney problems, that could be contributing to your high blood pressure.

To learn how we can help you manage your hypertension, call 281-429-8780 or book an appointment online with Houston Kidney Specialists Center today.

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