High blood pressure can be a serious health issue if left untreated and many people who suffer from it don’t even know they have it.
As Nanango GPs, it’s common for our patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) to not even show any symptoms. It’s why your doctor will usually check your blood pressure during routine visits to keep an eye on your levels. There are a few options for high blood pressure management and depending on your situation that may be a few lifestyle changes or medications because leaving hypertension untreated can raise your risks of heart attacks, stroke and kidney problems.
What is high blood pressure?
Hypertension is measured on a machine which gives a reading of your systolic (blood pushed into the arteries with a normal reading considered 120 mmHg) and diastolic (blood pressure in the arteries during heartbeats with a normal reading considered 80 mmHg). You are probably familiar with that reading being described as 120/80 (120 over 80). If your blood pressure is over 140/90 it is considered high. Here are some heart checks you can get at your GP.
What causes high blood pressure?
Some causes of hypertension are due to lifestyle while others are unavoidable like family history. As Nanango GPs we see a range of causes of high blood pressure. The most common are being overweight, smoking and eating a diet too high in sodium. Drinking too much alcohol, being diabetic and not being active enough can also contribute to high blood pressure. Sometimes your family history can play a part and if your parents or close family members have high blood pressure, it’s a good idea for you to be checked regularly too, regardless if you consider yourself fit and healthy and feel fine. Even people who are physically fit can have high blood pressure.
How high blood pressure is managed
Sometimes as Nanango GPs our patients are worried or frustrated at getting a high blood pressure diagnosis but it is very common and some estimates suggest about one-third of the adult population suffers from hypertension. Sometimes just adopting healthy habits like eating better, losing some weight and exercising more can reduce your high blood pressure. Other times you may require medication to bring down your hypertension.
Common medications to treat high blood pressure include ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and diuretics. They all do something different so it’s best to discuss your options with your doctor to decide what is best for you. ACE inhibitors relax blood vessels so blood can pump easier, beta blockers stop the effect of adrenaline on the heart which makes it beat more slowly and with less force and diuretics help remove sodium from the body.
If you would like to arrange an appointment to have your blood pressure checked by one of our Nanango GPs please call Drayton Street Family Practice on (07) 4171 0711 today.