Every time you enter a doctor’s office, one of the first things they do is slide a cuff onto your arm and measure your blood pressure as part of their vitals check.
It would be no exaggeration to say that this quick, easy, and painless cardiovascular assessment tool can save your life since hypertension doesn’t typically come with any warning signs. That’s why the condition is known as a silent killer.
At James Kim Cardiology, Dr. Kim and our team recognize the importance of this type of frontline health screening, and we want to spend a little time emphasizing its value here.
What is hypertension?
Another term for hypertension is high blood pressure, which is a better way to describe this condition.
Hypertension is a condition in which the blood in your arteries is placing too much pressure on the walls of these blood vessels, which, over time, places you at a much greater risk of serious, and life-threatening, cardiovascular complications, such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
When we measure your blood pressure, we’re gathering two numbers:
- Your systolic pressure: The pressure of the blood during a heartbeat
- Your diastolic pressure: The pressure of the blood in between heartbeats
Any numbers that measure between 120-139 over 80-89 are considered to be pre-hypertensive, and numbers that measure 140/90 or higher are firmly in hypertension territory.
Nearly half of adults in the United States have hypertension, and many are unaware of the problem since there are typically no outward signs.
Why regular hypertension screening is important
In most cases, people with high blood pressure don’t feel any symptoms that indicate a problem. It’s only when we measure your blood pressure that we get a clearer picture of your cardiovascular health.
To underscore the value of regularly screening for hypertension, the CDC reports two statistics that you should make you sit up and take notice:
- Hypertension was listed as the primary contributing cause of death in more than 500,000 people in the US in 2019 alone
- An eye-opening 200,000 deaths from heart and stroke each year in the US are preventable
Now, consider that one quick-and-painless screening can help us identify a blood pressure problem, allowing us to take the steps necessary to bring your blood pressure numbers down.
Having hypertension is concerning, but there is some good news: The condition is well within our power to change.
If we find that you have high blood pressure, we take swift action to lower your numbers, which might include one or more of the following:
- Dietary changes
- Losing weight
- Quitting smoking
As you can see, most of the items on the list above are steps you can take on your own, though we’ll be here to guide you. Lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier foods and exercising more, are keys to lowering your blood pressure, as well as your risks for heart attack and stroke.
The bottom line is that the 30 seconds that it takes for us to measure your blood pressure are 30 seconds that can potentially save your life. To get started, simply contact one of our offices in Chula Vista or National City, California.