High Blood Pressure

Austin Primary Care Physicians -  - Internist

Austin Primary Care Physicians

Internists located in Austin, TX & Cedar Park, TX

High Blood Pressure Specialist
One in three Americans have high blood pressure, termed hypertension. Because such a large percentage of the United States population suffers from high blood pressure, it’s easy to get comfortable with the diagnosis. However, the commonality of this condition doesn’t reflect its seriousness; when left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening health conditions. The diligent team at Austin Primary Care Physicians in Austin, Texas, focuses on both prevention and management of hypertension.

High Blood Pressure Q & A

What is the normal range for blood pressure?

Based on extensive research, the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure considers the normal range to be systolic pressure under 120 and diastolic pressure under 80 mmHg. They also break abnormal blood pressures into these categories:

  • Prehypertension – 120-139/80-89 mmHg
  • Stage 1 Hypertension – 140-159/90-99 mmHg
  • Stage 2 Hypertension – systolic pressure of 160 or more or diastolic pressure of 100 or more

Classifying hypertension into stages helps providers identify risk and treat accordingly.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

In most cases, high blood pressure isn't accompanied by any abnormal signs and symptoms and is instead detected during routine physical examinations. Having an annual physical with a trusted primary care doctor is key to prevention and early detection/treatment of hypertension.

In hypertensive emergencies, when the blood pressure is extraordinarily high, patients may notice chest pain, severe headache, or difficulty breathing. Patients experiencing these symptoms should seek treatment immediately.

What causes high blood pressure?

The cause of high blood pressure isn't always known, but some common culprits include obesity, poor diet, inactivity, genetics, and older age.

What health issues can result from untreated hypertension?

Several severe medical issues can result from unmanaged hypertension, including:

  • Atherosclerosis, a plaque buildup inside arteries
  • Heart disease, including heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke
  • Eye diseases

What lifestyle changes can help improve hypertension?

The most important lifestyle change is diet. Doctors often recommend the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which focuses on:

  • Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Decreasing intake of foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat
  • Lowering sodium intake
  • Adding magnesium, potassium, and calcium to the diet
  • Increasing intake of lean meats and whole grains

Patients should also stop smoking if they smoke, lose weight, add regular exercise to their daily routine, limit alcohol intake, and seek evaluation and treatment of sleep apnea if they have or suspect they have it.

How is high blood pressure treated?

Lifestyle changes are considered the first line of treatment for hypertension, but when they fail to yield results or when blood pressure is high enough to prevent significant risks, medication can also be prescribed.

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