Hypertension is a contributing cause of nearly half a million deaths in the United States each year. It’s a chronic medical condition that’s diagnosed when the pressure inside your arteries is higher than normal, and only one in four people with hypertension have the condition under control.
Hypertension is often called “the silent killer,” because the condition has no warning signs. The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is through regular blood pressure checks. It sounds scary, but if you’re diagnosed with hypertension, managing your condition can help you live a healthier life.
Our heart team at NJ Cardiovascular Institute, led by Dr. Kunal Patel, is highly trained in diagnosing and treating hypertension. The first step to a healthier heart is understanding your risk of developing hypertension, and we’re here to help.
Recognizing your risk factors for hypertension
While it’s natural for blood pressure to fluctuate throughout the course of a day, hypertension means that your blood pressure is always elevated. Consistently high blood pressure can damage your heart, eventually leading to serious complications like heart attack, stroke, or death.
Anyone can develop high blood pressure, but certain risk factors may make the condition more likely.
Men, seniors, people with a family history of hypertension, and those of African descent have a higher risk.
Some other common risk factors for hypertension include:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Unhealthy diet
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol use
Some risk factors are genetic, and you can’t change them. But there’s a lot you can do to improve your health and lower your blood pressure.
Modifying your lifestyle to improve your heart health can reduce your risk of hypertension, even if you have genetic risk factors. Talk to our team about your unique health history to find out what you can do to stay as healthy as possible.
Receiving a hypertension diagnosis
Hypertension often goes undiagnosed, because unlike many other chronic conditions, you can’t feel that something is wrong. Getting a blood pressure reading is the only way to know what your blood pressure is.
A blood pressure reading has two numbers: systolic on the top and diastolic on the bottom. Normal blood pressures are below 120/80. You’re at risk for hypertension if your reading is between 120/80 and 129/80, and the stages of hypertension begin when your blood pressure reaches 130/80.
When you come to our office for heart care, you’ll get your blood pressure taken. Our team generally diagnoses hypertension if you’ve had a high blood pressure reading at three separate visits to the office.
Receiving a hypertension diagnosis can be scary, but living a long, healthy life is possible with proper care. If you’re at risk for high blood pressure or you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension, you can improve your health to reduce your chances of life-threatening complications.
NJ Cardiovascular Institute offers a unique Heart Smart Program, so you don’t have to do it alone. From nutritional management and exercise plans to educational content and diagnostic services, you can be confident that you’re making the right choices for heart health.
Is it time for your heart checkup? Don’t let high blood pressure go undetected and undiagnosed. Call one of our offices in Newark or Secaucus, New Jersey, or book your appointment online.