Treating Hypertension, The Silent Killer
Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure reading will be. A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers that represent diastolic and systolic pressure. A healthy blood pressure reading is generally considered 120/80 or lower.
One out of every four adults in America has hypertension. It is often called the “silent killer” because you can have high blood pressure for many years without feeling it or seeing any symptoms. Even without symptoms, we can detect the damage to your blood vessels and heart. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke.
High blood pressure typically develops over many years and will affect most adults eventually. Fortunately, hypertension can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your internist to control it.
Two types of high blood pressure
Essential, or primary, hypertension has no known cause and tends to develop slowly over time. Secondary hypertension is caused by certain underlying medical conditions, including:
- Adrenal tumors
- Kidney problems
- Chronic alcohol use
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Congenital defects in blood vessels
- Medication (birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers & some prescription drugs)
- Illegal drugs (cocaine & amphetamines)
- Thyroid problems
While some lifestyle changes (eat right, reduce salt intake, control weight, stop smoking and exercise) can help high blood pressure, many patients will need medication to control it at a healthy level.
If you are struggling with hypertension, it’s good to know you have someone who will treat you like family and take good care of you. To schedule your one-on-one consultation with a primary care doctor (internist), please call us at 781.769.3113 or fill out our online Request an Appointment form. Our adult health patients come to us from Dedham, Needham, Norwood, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, Westwood, Wrentham, MA and adjacent towns.