When you hit your doctor’s office, they slap a cuff on your arm and begin pumping it up. While this might seem monotonous, taking your blood pressure is essential to your medical journey. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), blood pressure can vary constantly; however, your provider wants your blood pressure numbers to be under 120/80 mmHg. Anything higher might indicate that you have high blood pressure or are at risk for it, which puts you at a higher risk for stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.
High blood pressure or hypertension comes in different stages, but essentially, it means there is consistently too much force against the walls of your arteries. All that force makes your heart have to work harder to push blood through the vessels, per the Mayo Clinic. The cause of high blood pressure can take many paths. Sometimes, it develops as your body ages, and plaque makes the vessels narrower. Some individuals might have high blood pressure secondary to a condition like blood vessel problems, drug use, kidney disease, and sleep apnea.
Hypertension is known as a silent killer because it doesn’t exhibit any symptoms unless your pressure is dangerously high. However, a few standard things to watch out for include shortness of breath, headaches, and nosebleeds. Lifestyle changes like a low-salt diet and exercise are recommended, along with medication, if needed. Since salt increases your blood pressure, lowering your intake can help to keep your numbers down.