High Blood Pressure Hypertension (cont.)
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What is high blood pressure?
- What causes high blood pressure?
- How is blood pressure measured?
- What do blood pressure readings mean?
- What are the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure?
- How is high blood pressure diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for high blood pressure?
- What are the potential risks and complications of untreated high blood pressure?
- What dietary strategies can help lower high blood pressure?
- How does exercise help lower high blood pressure?
- Is complementary and alternative medicine effective for treating high blood pressure?
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What are the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure?
High blood pressure may not have any symptoms and so hypertension has been labeled "the silent killer." Longstanding high blood pressure can lead to multiple complications including heart attack, kidney disease, or stroke.
Some people experience symptoms with their high blood pressure. These symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Feeling of pulsations in the neck or head
How is high blood pressure diagnosed?
To make an official diagnosis of high blood pressure you will need to see your doctor. Often your blood pressure will be checked on at least two different visits, at different times of the day. Your doctor may ask you to keep a blood pressure log for a short time in order to see your overall blood pressure trends. If your blood pressure is consistently over 140/90, your doctor will work with you to determine the best regimen for treating your high blood pressure.
What is the treatment for high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is caused by many different factors, so there are many different treatments. The goal of treating high blood pressure is to keep the blood pressure below 140/90.
Treatments for high blood pressure include:
- Lifestyle modifications:
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight
- Avoid alcohol
- Eat a low-sodium, low-fat diet
- Medications: There are many different categories of blood pressure medications. Your doctor will work with you to find the right one. The main types include:
- Beta blockers
- Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angiotensin II Receptor (ARB) blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- Diuretics (water pills)
- Treatment of underlying conditions that cause high blood pressure, such as:
Get tips on handling your hypertension.