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Can You Have High Blood Pressure Without Knowing It?

Feb 05, 2024
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High blood pressure significantly increases your risks of heart attack, heart disease, and strokes — yet it typically causes no symptoms. Here’s what you should know about high blood pressure, including the importance of regular screening.

About half of American adults have high blood pressure (hypertension). This chronic condition increases your risks of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and dementia. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be treated — as long as you know you have it.

Unfortunately, hypertension causes few or no symptoms, and many people don’t know they have it until a serious medical event occurs. As a result, treatment is often delayed, and the risks of serious health problems increase.

As a leading primary care practice providing chronic disease management for people in the Midtown East neighborhood of New York City, Health Meets Wellness offers patient-centered treatment for hypertension. 

Here, our team explains the basics of hypertension, including treatments to manage your blood pressure and prevent serious problems.

Understanding hypertension

Blood flows through your circulatory system and exerts pressure on the vessel walls. This is your blood pressure, and ideally, it falls within a predictable and healthy range.

Sometimes, blood pressure increases beyond those healthy “norms,” increasing strain on the vessel walls and every organ and tissue that receives blood. Over time, that elevation in pressure can lead to widespread damage, including damage to your organs and the vessel walls.

Hypertension can happen for many reasons, and it’s typically associated with risk factors, including the following:

  • Older age
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diets high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking habit
  • Diabetes
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Low levels of minerals and nutrients, like potassium

You’re also at increased risk of developing hypertension if you have a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke.

Recognizing hypertension — and managing it

Hypertension rarely causes any symptoms, which means you can have it for a long time and not know it. Even at dangerously high levels, hypertension typically causes no symptoms or very subtle symptoms that can be easily overlooked.

Having your blood pressure measured regularly is essential for good health, especially as you get older and if you have any of the risk factors listed above. That’s why we measure your blood pressure during every office visit. In some cases, we may recommend you invest in a cuff to keep at home so you can monitor your blood pressure more often.

If you have high blood pressure or you’re prehypertensive — at an increased risk of developing hypertension — there are steps you can take to help keep your blood pressure under control. While medication can play an important part in managing hypertension for some people, everyone can benefit from healthy lifestyle changes, like the following:

  • Losing excess weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting or eliminating alcohol
  • Begin physically active every day
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Managing underlying conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol
  • Learning to manage stress more effectively

If you have high blood pressure or factors that increase your risk, our team can create a personalized management plan focused on managing your blood pressure and preventing complications.

Know your risk factors

Don’t leave your blood pressure up to chance. To learn if you’re at risk and to find out how we can help, call 934-203-8941 or request an appointment online with the team at Health Meets Wellness today.