More than 68 million Americans are walking around with hypertension, many of whom don’t even know it.
If you’re one of them, your blood is slamming into the walls of your arteries with every heartbeat and causing damage that can lead to dangerous health conditions.
At Healthstone Primary Care, with locations in Weston, Pembroke Pines & Davie, FL., our team provides diagnoses and treats hypertension. Because there are no early warning signs of this condition, the only way to know for sure if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured, which we do at every visit to our office.
If your doctor determines that your blood pressure is too high, he can help you take steps to lower it before it causes more severe problems. Here’s what can happen if you let it go untreated.
Over time, high blood pressure damages your arteries, the vessels responsible for carrying blood and oxygen from your heart to the rest of your body. This damage hardens them and decreases their elasticity, causing the flow of blood to slow down. This is called heart disease, and it can lead to some dangerous conditions, including:
While high blood pressure doesn’t come with warning signs, some heart attacks do. Here are a few of the most common ones:
If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.
Not only does your heart suffer when you have damaged arteries, but the organs and tissues meant to receive oxygenated blood from your heart also suffer. In particular, your brain is in a very vulnerable position if your arteries can’t deliver enough oxygenated blood — this is called a stroke.
During a stroke, your brain cells begin to die quickly because they can’t live without oxygen. Every minute counts; the longer you go without oxygen, the more cells die, which can permanently affect your ability to speak and move. If you aren’t treated quickly, you could die.
High blood pressure has even been linked to a greater chance of developing dementia later in life, so controlling your hypertension as soon as you’re aware of it is crucial to your long-term mental health.
Your kidneys are the two organs in your lower back region responsible for filtering out the waste in your blood. To do this, they rely on a healthy circulatory system with free-flowing blood. But if you have hypertension and damaged arteries, that system is compromised.
Two things happen in your kidneys when you don’t lower your high blood pressure.
First, your kidneys become damaged because they stop receiving the oxygen and nutrients they need. High blood pressure is the second-leading cause of kidney failure. Damaged kidneys can no longer filter your blood.
Second, if your kidneys aren’t functioning correctly, they can’t produce an essential hormone (aldosterone), regulating blood pressure. In a cruel cycle, high blood pressure damages the organ that regulates high blood pressure, and the spiral ends in kidney failure.
The good news is that you can prevent or reverse many of the dangers that high blood pressure causes. That’s why we check your blood pressure levels every time we see you because we know that catching it early is critical.
Often, a few lifestyle changes are all it takes to turn the tide on your hypertension; among them:
Suppose these lifestyle changes don’t lower your numbers enough. In that case, your doctor can prescribe some effective medications to keep your blood pressure down while you’re working toward adjusting naturally with diet and exercise.
It’s never too late to start making some changes that will keep high blood pressure from damaging your organs and your life. To find out what your numbers are, contact one of our Healthstone Primary Care offices in Weston, Davie, or Pembroke Pines, Florida, by calling or booking online today.