The root causes of hypertension are not clearly known, but genetics definitely seems to play a part. If your parents or siblings have high blood pressure, you're more likely to develop it too. People also tend to develop high blood pressure as they age, and while not everyone will ultimately have hypertension, it's important to monitor your blood pressure as you get older. You're also more likely to get it if you're obese, smoke, are sedentary, or eat a diet high in sodium.
It's rare for people with hypertension to actually have symptoms, so even if your numbers are off the charts, you may not feel anything strange. That's why it's so important to monitor your blood pressure. Depending on your situation, you may want to make an appointment with your provider to discuss your risk factors and establish a baseline so they can keep an eye on your blood pressure.
Your provider will often measure your blood pressure as a part of your regular, routine appointments. Every blood pressure measurement consists of two numbers: the first number (your systolic pressure) is the peak in pressure generated by each beat of your heart, and the second, lower number — the diastolic pressure — is the pressure between heartbeats.
Here’s how we interpret the results:
Normal blood pressure:
Prehypertension (at risk for hypertension):
Lifestyle changes are always the starting point when it comes to hypertension treatment. Some of the most important steps you can take in managing your blood pressure:
Sometimes lifestyle modification alone doesn't do the trick, and your provider might need to prescribe medication to keep your blood pressure in a safe range. But know that hypertension doesn't go away on its own and medication only controls it; it's not a cure. That's why the right lifestyle is so important to keep your blood pressure - and the rest of you - in the healthiest place possible.
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