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Answers to Your High Blood Pressure Questions

High blood pressure, also called hypertension or HBP, is a serious condition that can have grave consequences. Blood pressure refers to the amount of force that is placed on blood vessel walls as blood is pumped throughout the body by the heart. When blood pressure is elevated, the heart has to work harder and the increased force of blood flow can cause problems in the organs, arteries and eyes among other things.

What are the common signs of high blood pressure?

Contrary to popular belief, high blood pressure does not present a large and noticeable array of symptoms. In fact, it is often referred to as the “silent killer”, given people can suffer from high blood pressure for long periods of time without knowing it. Annapolis senior care experts encourage all adults to have their blood pressure checked at least twice yearly, preferably as part of their regular check-ups.

What is the difference between systolic and diastolic pressure?

When blood pressure readings are taken, medical professionals record two numbers. These are readings for diastolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure, and both are important for determining whether or not your blood pressure is at a normal level.

Diastolic pressure measures blood pressure between heartbeats, when the heart is in a relaxed state. Systolic readings account for the pressure against blood vessel walls when the heart is actively beating. Blood pressure readings show the systolic pressure on top and the diastolic on the bottom.

How high does my blood pressure have to be for hypertension to be an issue?

Systolic readings of 140 or higher and diastolic readings of 90 or higher mean you have high blood pressure or hypertension. People with kidney disease or diabetes should have systolic readings of 130 or lower and diastolic readings that are at or below 80.

What are the long-term effects of high blood pressure?

High blood pressure puts an undue amount of stress on the heart, which can cause this vital organ to weaken over time. As a result, untreated hypertension can lead to heart failure. Similar strain is placed on the blood vessels leading to the kidneys. If the hypertension is left untreated, these vessels can begin to narrow, resulting in kidney failure. Untreated hypertension can also lead to vision changes, vision loss, aneurysms and hardening of the arteries.

What is pre-hypertension?

A blood pressure reading of 120/80 is considered to be normal and indicative of good health. If your blood pressure is higher than this, but below 140/90, you have what is known as pre-hypertension. Identifying pre-hypertension gives people a chance to make lifestyle changes for improved heart health.

What causes high blood pressure?

Hypertension is common among people who are overweight or obese. It is also common among people with family histories of hypertension. The likelihood of developing high blood pressure increases with age and thus, women over 55 and men over 45 should talk with their doctors about regular screenings and the need for healthy life changes.

Make an appointment for your senior loved one with his or her physician to for a blood pressure check, and create a plan involving regular exercise and healthy eating habits as part of an overall strategy for good health and longevity.

For additional support, consider help from Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of post-stroke care in Annapolis. We make senior health and wellness our number one priority and work with each and every client to develop a custom care plan tailored to his or her specific needs. To learn more, call 443-302-2771 and schedule a free consultation with a friendly Care Manager.