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Could You Have High Blood Pressure and Not Know it?

There’s a good reason why the number of Americans with high blood pressure is an estimated 103 million people, almost half of all adults in the United States. Many people who suffer from hypertension have no idea there’s a problem. Not only is it possible to have high blood pressure without knowing it, but you’re also far more unlikely to notice symptoms in the early stages of the condition.  

High blood pressure is a silent killer

Quite simply, high blood pressure is asymptomatic. By the time most people develop noticeable signs or symptoms, their blood pressure is at dangerously high levels. Hypertension can cause nosebleeds, headaches, chest pain, and shortness of breath, but by that stage, your life may be at risk.

Routine monitoring for hypertension

However, if you’re under regular care with the physicians at More MD, you’re likely familiar with the blood pressure cuff. When a doctor or nurse takes your vital signs, blood pressure testing is part of it simply because it’s virtually the only way to tell if there’s a problem.

The two numbers in a blood pressure reading reflect the highest pressure in your arteries when your heart pumps (systolic), and the lowest pressure between heartbeats (diastolic). A reading of 120 systolic over 80 diastolic or less is a normal, healthy level for blood pressure.

If your systolic number is between 120 and 129, but the diastolic pressure remains at 80 or less, you have elevated blood pressure. It’s not a dangerous condition, but it may be an early warning.

The stages of hypertension

When you have blood pressure readings between 130 to 139 systolic, and 80 to 89 diastolic, you’ve reached Stage 1 hypertension. It’s important to know that one blood pressure reading can be elevated, a reaction to the events of the day, the food you’ve eaten, or stress you’re under. A single high reading won’t result in a high blood pressure diagnosis.

Even if you reach 140 or higher systolic, and 90 or higher diastolic, you’ll have to maintain similar readings over three or more separate appointments before you’re diagnosed with hypertension. However, any elevated reading might mean it’s time to start conservative steps to keep your numbers down.

Home monitoring and lifestyle adjustments

If you’re concerned about rising blood pressure levels, adding a home monitor is a smart way to get proactive about your condition. You can take blood pressure readings daily, or through the day, to gain a better insight into how your numbers change.

It’s sometimes astonishing how much small changes can affect your blood pressure readings. Meditation and controlled breathing can, for example, lower both systolic and diastolic numbers in just a few minutes, between tests. Adding bigger changes, such as more physical activity, healthy changes to your diet, or quitting smoking can help lower numbers substantially.

High blood pressure is usually easy to address when it’s caught early. Discuss your numbers with your More MD caregiver and learn what it means for your health. If you’re not regularly screened for high blood pressure, contact the most convenient office by phone or using the online booking tool. Knowing your numbers can protect your health. 

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