One in three U.S. adults – or 74.5 million people – have high blood pressure (HBP). Only 77.6% are aware of their condition.
HBP (also called hypertension) occurs when blood moves through arteries at a higher pressure than normal.
A normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. High blood pressure (HBP) is 140/90 or higher.
Blood pressure between 120/80 and 140/90 is called pre-hypertension and means you need to take steps to lower those levels.
Although women are as likely as men to develop high blood pressure, men are more likely to have it when they are younger than 45 years old. HBP affects women more than men after they become 65.
HBP is especially dangerous because people can have it for years without knowing it — HBP symptoms are not always present.
Providers at Family Practice Associates in Lexington measure a patient’s blood pressure every office visit. However, it is easier to diagnose HBP for women than men because they schedule annual female exams, while men tend to schedule appointments only when they are very sick.
Having HBP symptoms is a blessing in disguise, especially for those men who don’t visit their doctor routinely. Symptoms, and a lot of encouragement from a spouse, can prompt men to seek medical care.
HBP symptoms may include headache, dizziness, shortness of breath and blurred vision.
Having high blood pressure and pre-hypertension puts men and women at risk of stroke, kidney failure, heart disease and heart attack.
Blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes and in some cases medicine. Even if you need medication, lifestyle changes can reduce dependence on medicine.
Lifestyle changes include:
- Stop smoking or using tobacco.
- Lose weight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet (lots of fruits and vegetables, minimum fat).
- Reduce sodium, alcohol and caffeine intake.
- Learn to relax.The goal of treatment is to reduce HBP to normal levels with lifestyle changes and medicine that’s easy to take and has few, if any, side effects.The moral of this story for both men and women is to have routine medical exams.
In addition to our physicians being able to diagnose HBP, annual routine patient exams allow our providers to check for early stages of cholesterol, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
If treatment is started promptly, HBP can be controlled before it progresses to a more serious condition.