You develop hypertension, or high blood pressure, when blood flow places too much pressure against blood vessel walls. Artery walls are flexible and strong, so they can withstand the normal amount of pressure created as your heart pumps blood, but they become damaged when pressure stays too high for an extended period of time.
Health conditions such as sleep apnea, thyroid conditions, and kidney problems can cause hypertension. The most common causes of high blood pressure, however, are related to lifestyle concerns such as:
- Consuming too much sodium (salt)
- Consuming too little potassium
- Being overweight
- Enduring chronic stress
Untreated hypertension damages blood vessels by creating a rough spot in the vessel wall. These rough areas snag excess cholesterol as it circulates in your blood stream.
Cholesterol builds up over time and hardens into plaque, which blocks blood flow. When that happens, you have atherosclerosis, a condition that leads to heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure.
Hypertension is also dangerous because it doesn’t cause symptoms. You can have high blood pressure for years and never know unless you get your blood pressure checked at an annual physical exam.
The doctors at Boerne Family Medicine take a comprehensive approach to treating high blood pressure. Your treatment plan may include one or more of the following steps:
Treat underlying health conditions:
Your doctor at Boerne Family Medicine treats any medical issues you may have that cause or contribute to high blood pressure.
Create a lifestyle plan:
High blood pressure can often be treated and kept under control without medication when you make lifestyle changes. The team at Boerne Family Medicine works with you to develop a plan that addresses the most important issues that people with high blood pressure face: diet, exercise, weight, and chronic stress. Changes, such as reducing salt consumption and losing weight, can significantly lower blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is dangerously high at the time of diagnosis, your doctor at Boerne Family Medicine may recommend starting antihypertensive medications immediately. Otherwise, medications are prescribed when lifestyle changes fail to lower your blood pressure.
If you haven’t had your blood pressure checked in the last year, please call or book an appointment online for an exam. Early detection is essential to prevent chronic health problems.