To ensure that enough oxygenated blood reaches the organs and peripheral tissues, the heart must pump blood with a certain amount of force. This force contributes to the measured blood pressure, or the amount of pressure that blood exerts on the artery walls. Blood pressure is measured as two numbers: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure (top number) is a measurement of the pressure within the arteries as the heart beats, while diastolic pressure (bottom number) is measured in between heartbeats. In a healthy person, blood pressure is typically 120/80 mmHg or lower.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension , occurs when blood pressure is consistently elevated (140/90 mmHg or above) for long periods of time. When left unmanaged, this condition can lead to arterial damage and serious health complications, including stroke, kidney failure, and blindness. Hypertension is commonly called a “silent killer,” as sufferers often experience no symptoms until their cardiovascular system has already been damaged.
Are you at risk for high blood pressure? Below are some of the factors known to contribute to the development of this serious chronic disease.
- Excessive alcohol use
- Tobacco use or cigarette smoking
- Use of birth control pills
- Inactive or sedentary lifestyle
- Family history of high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease
- Kidney disease
- Diabetes or obesity
- High-sodium or high-fat diet
- Chronic stress
Although the cause of essential high blood pressure is unknown, there are ways to manage and treat the condition. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, and eating a low-sodium, nutritious diet can all help to keep blood pressure low. There are also certain prescription medications that can be used to control high blood pressure.
If you are interested in finding an experienced cardiovascular specialist in the Thousand Oaks area, contact Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center at (805) 497-2727. Our Heart Center is nationally recognized for its high standard of care and positive outcomes. Call us today for more information about our comprehensive diagnostic and treatment options.