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Why Is High Blood Pressure Bad?

Why Is High Blood Pressure Bad?

Each time you go into a doctor’s office, the odds are good that the visit starts with a blood pressure reading. There are some very good reasons why we monitor this important and vital statistic, and we want to share some of those here.

All too often we’re told that something is bad for us, yet the exact reasons why aren’t really made clear. With that in mind, board-certified cardiologist Dr. James Kim shines the spotlight on hypertension and the importance of staying a step ahead of this potentially life-threatening condition.

What is your blood pressure?

Let’s begin this discussion with some basics, starting with what we’re measuring when we check your blood pressure. As the name implies, we’re measuring the pressure that your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries as it passes through with each heartbeat.

Your blood pressure reading includes two numbers:

  1. Systolic: The top number, which measures the pressure during a heartbeat
  2. Diastolic: The bottom number, which measures the pressure in between heartbeats

Any reading that’s at or below 120/80 is considered normal and healthy blood pressure. If it’s 120-129 over 80, this is considered elevated. Any reading of 130/80 or higher is hypertension.

Unfortunately, nearly half of adults in the United States qualify for hypertension.

How the higher pressure affects your cardiovascular health

Now that we have a better understanding of the numbers, let’s explore why higher numbers are bad for blood pressure. 

First, over time, this added pressure on the walls of your arteries can fray the linings of these sensitive blood vessels, which allows plaque deposits to build up more easily since the walls aren’t smooth anymore. 

By plaque, we’re referring to cholesterol deposits that can gather along the walls of your arteries and narrow them, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood.

Not only can your arteries narrow with hypertension, they can become stiffer and less elastic, which further hampers their ability to circulate oxygen and blood.

Silent killer — there are no symptoms

Let’s now circle back to this concept of hypertension being a silent killer. When you have high blood pressure, you typically have no warning signs or symptoms — at first.

Sadly, the first symptom that often develops is heart attack or stroke, which are life-changing events. Given that heart diseases like these are among the top five leading causes of death in the United States, calling high blood pressure a silent killer isn’t off the mark.

Hypertension is reversible

We want to end this discussion with our most important point: You can lower your blood pressure and reverse your high risk for heart disease. 

Lifestyle changes like exercising more, eating healthier foods and ditching sodium, as well as taking medications, are all great ways to get your blood pressure into a safer and healthier territory.

To determine the best approach for lowering your high blood pressure, we invite you to schedule a consultation at one of our offices in Chula Vista or National City, California.

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