James Kim, MD
Cardiologist & Board Certified in Cardiovascular Diseases located in National City, CA & Chula Vista, CA
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a leading risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. At his practice in National City and Chula Vista, California, James Kim, MD, diagnoses and treats high blood pressure to help you protect your cardiovascular health. Call or book an appointment online today for expert cardiovascular health care, including hypertension management.
Hypertension Q & A
What is hypertension?
Hypertension is a health condition that occurs when your blood exerts too much force against the inside walls of your blood vessels. It increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other potentially dangerous cardiovascular health problems.
Your blood naturally pushes against the inner walls of your blood vessels as it moves through your body. Healthy blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg or lower. Anything higher is considered elevated, and you officially have hypertension once your blood pressure reaches 130/80 mm Hg.
What are the signs of hypertension?
Hypertension doesn’t usually cause symptoms, especially in its early stages. While around half of Americans have high blood pressure, many don’t know their health is at risk until they have a heart attack or another cardiac event.
If you have advanced hypertension, you might experience headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds.
What causes hypertension?
Your family medical history and genetics influence your chances of developing high blood pressure. However, your lifestyle has the most significant impact on your blood pressure.
Some of the factors that increase your risk of hypertension include:
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Being overweight or obese
- Not getting enough exercise
- Eating a high-fat, high-salt diet
- Consuming too much alcohol
- Excessive stress
You can also develop hypertension due to another health condition such as diabetes, kidney disease, sleep apnea, and thyroid disease.
How do you diagnose hypertension?
You should have your blood pressure checked at your annual wellness visit. If your primary care provider sees that your blood pressure is elevated, they can provide a referral to Dr. Kim for specialist testing and treatment.
Dr. Kim begins by reviewing your medical history, lifestyle, and any symptoms. He checks your blood pressure at various points in your body, including your upper arm and ankles. He also orders blood tests to check for signs of other diseases that could contribute to your hypertension.
In many cases, he provides an at-home blood pressure cuff and asks you to check your blood pressure several times during the day. Creating a wider range of data allows Dr. Kim to see if your elevated blood pressure was a one-off or a consistent problem.
How do you treat hypertension?
Depending on your condition, Dr. Kim might recommend making lifestyle changes to lower your blood pressure.
In some cases, cutting salt, fat, and sugar from your diet and adding at least 30 minutes of exercise to your daily routine can reduce your blood pressure. These changes can also support weight loss, which can improve your blood pressure.
If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your blood pressure, Dr. Kim can prescribe medications such as diuretics, blood thinners, ACE inhibitors, and calcium channel blockers to reduce your hypertension.
If you’re concerned about hypertension and need expert medical care, schedule a diagnostic evaluation at the office of James Kim, MD, online or by phone today.