Blood pressure is the force exerted on the blood vessels as the blood pumps throughout the body, both during (systolic) and between (diastolic) beats. Hypertension, also referred to as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the pressure exerted on the arteries and veins is greater than it should be. When blood pressure is too high, it puts the blood vessels and organs like the heart, kidneys, and lungs at risk of damage and increases a patient’s risk of serious cardiac conditions such as stroke or heart attack.
High blood pressure does not cause any noticeable symptoms, so patients must undergo regular screenings to measure their blood pressure. This painless test measures your blood pressure and is the only way to tell if a person has developed high blood pressure. If a patient has an increased risk of high blood pressure, the doctor will usually take two or three measurements in order to determine an accurate reading. The doctor may also order lipid panels to check a patient’s cholesterol levels. High cholesterol can lead to hardening of the arteries, which is another risk factor for high blood pressure.
Most patients with high blood pressure are treated with medication such as beta-blockers, vasodilators, or inhibitors, depending on the needs of the individual patient. However, making small, but significant and sustainable, lifestyle changes can be very effective in reducing high blood pressure. Anyone who uses tobacco products should cut back and try to stop smoking. The doctors at Gilroy Family Medical Group can provide assistance to help break this tough habit. Physicians also recommend minimizing the consumption of salt and alcohol while increasing the intake of vegetables, fruits, and foods naturally lower in fat and sodium. Exercise and losing weight can also help to improve blood pressure.
Gilroy Family Medical Group works with most major insurances. If you have any questions, please call our office and one of our knowledgeable staff members would be happy to help.
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