High Blood Pressure – Facts You Should Know High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure generally develops over many years, and it affects nearly everyone eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it. Symptoms Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. A few people with high blood pressure may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds, but these signs and symptoms aren’t specific and usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage. Causes There are two types of high blood pressure. Primary (essential) hypertension For most adults, there’s no identifiable cause of high blood pressure. This type of high blood pressure, called primary (essential) hypertension, tends to develop gradually over many years. Secondary hypertension Some people have high blood pressure caused by an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure, called secondary hypertension, tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure than does primary hypertension. Various conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension, including: • Obstructive sleep apnea • Kidney problems • Adrenal gland tumors • Thyroid problems • Certain defects you’re born with (congenital) in blood vessels • Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs • Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to complications including heart attack or stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, weakened and narrowed blood vessels in your kidneys, metabolic syndrome, trouble with memory or understanding, and/or dementia. Make sure to have your blood pressure checked regularly. By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. A healthy lifestyle includes: • Eating a healthy diet. • Maintaining a healthy weight. • Getting enough physical activity. • Not smoking. • Limiting alcohol use. Blood pressure tip: Get more potassium Want to lower your blood pressure? Consume less sodium and more potassium. Sodium increases your blood pressure. Potassium can minimize the damage by lessening the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Many fruits and vegetables are good sources of potassium, including bananas, strawberries, cantaloupe, spinach, peas and tomatoes. Source: American College of Cardiology: 2017 Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults.
Barbara Greenling, NP
Barbara Greenling’s care for individuals is as strong today as it was when she began her career in 1979. She loves to encourage, teach and guide individuals on their health journeys. Teaching the next generation is vitally important to her, as they will carry on the legacy of taking care of others. Committed to her own personal growth and development as well, Barbara’s medical interests include diabetes, endocrinology, thyroid issues and working with the LGBTQ+ community. She treats adults, performing adult physical exams and Medicare annual wellness visits. Barbara earned her undergraduate degree in nursing from Thomas Edison State College (now University) in Trenton, NJ. She completed her master’s of science in nursing (MSN) from Ball State University in Muncie, IN. She obtained her doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree from Chatham University in Pittsburgh. Barbara also holds a diploma in nursing from the St. Francis Medical Center School of Nursing in Trenton, NJ. When she’s not seeing patients, Barbara enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, family and friends. She also likes baking, golfing and gardening.
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