Are you at risk for high blood pressure?
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, you have a 90% chance of developing high blood pressure (also called hypertension) by age 55 – if you don’t have it already. If your blood pressure goes unchecked and remains constantly elevated, it can cause stroke, heart attack, even kidney failure.
What are the risk factors?
- Excess weight
- Lack of exercise
- Poor diet (especially one high in fat and cholesterol)
- Alcohol consumption
- Certain types of birth control
- Family history
- Chronic disease such as diabetes, kidney disease, or lupus
What if I feel healthy now?
Because there are virtually no symptoms, high blood pressure can go unnoticed for years. It’s often called the “silent killer” for that very reason.
How can I prevent high blood pressure?
The good news is, high blood pressure can be easily detected with a few simple screenings. Once diagnosed, your doctor can work with you to plan lifestyle changes and possibly prescribe medication that can help you control it.
What kind of screenings can you do for high blood pressure?
Your blood pressure can vary from minute to minute, so it’s important to get an accurate reading in a variety of situations, not just in our office. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring allows us to obtain a snapshot of your blood pressure over a continuous, 24-hour period for a more accurate diagnosis.
Here’s how it works:
- The monitor, about the size of a portable radio, is worn on the belt.
- The monitor is connected to a cuff worn on the upper arm (where it can be concealed underneath your clothes).
- Blood pressure readings are automatically collected every half hour while you’re awake, and once an hour while you’re asleep.
- You’ll also be asked to keep a brief diary of what you are doing during each reading.
After the 24-hour monitoring period, the readings are compiled and analyzed. If you have high blood pressure, the information will help us customize your treatment for the best results.
I’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, but I’ve never used a monitor.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, but have not used an ambulatory blood pressure monitor, there’s a good chance you might not have high blood pressure at all.
Studies have shown that 21% of men and 54% of women* only show high blood pressure readings in stressful situations, like when they’re sitting in the doctor’s office. The ambulatory blood pressure monitor takes readings over a 24-hour period to provide a more accurate view of your blood pressure.
As a result of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, hundreds of our patients have been able to reduce or eliminate the need for blood pressure medication completely.
Get treated early
When caught early, high blood pressure is easily detected and highly treatable. With proper diagnosis and preventive care, you can enjoy a vital, healthy, and active lifestyle.
If you think you might be at risk for developing high blood pressure, or may have been previously misdiagnosed, please call us at 949.653.5810 to schedule a consultation. You may also send a safe, secure message through NextMD.
* MB McDonald, CMAJ, Aug. 10, 1999