You looked up “signs of high blood pressure” and wound up with more questions than answers. Unfortunately, high blood pressure (you may also hear it called hypertension) doesn’t usually come with a warning. For that reason, many call high blood pressure “the silent killer.”
However, just because your body won’t sound the alarm with obvious symptoms doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive. You can still keep an eye on your blood pressure and take simple steps to manage it effectively.
Here at Optimal Performance Medicine in Woodstock, Georgia, Dr. Michael Skardasis and our team want to help you understand exactly what’s going on with your blood pressure so you can take control of your health.
Here’s everything you should know about high blood pressure.
What your blood pressure numbers mean
The only way to know if you have a blood pressure problem is to measure it. You can do so in our office, at your local pharmacy, or even purchase an at-home monitor.
To measure your blood pressure, we wrap a cuff around your upper arm. When we turn it on, the cuff gradually tightens, slowly releases, and then reveals two numbers. The first number is your systolic number; it tells us how much force your blood creates as it hits the walls of your arteries when your heart beats. The second number is your diastolic number, which measures the force of your blood between heartbeats when your muscles are resting.
Your reading comes back as “X (systolic) over Y (diastolic).” Here’s a breakdown of what they mean:
- Normal blood pressure: 120 over 80
- Elevated: 120-129 over 80 or less
- Stage 1 hypertension: 130-139 over 80-89
- Stage 2 hypertension: 140+ over 90 or higher
- Hypertensive crisis: 180 or higher over 120 or higher
In some cases, blood pressure can be too low (90 over 60 or lower). In this case, you have a condition called hypotension. Unlike hypertension, it does come with symptoms ranging from dizziness and fatigue to nausea, vision changes, and even fainting.
When you do have symptoms
If you’ve read that high blood pressure produces symptoms somewhere, proceed with caution. Some claim that high blood pressure can cause problems like:
- Sleep difficulties
High blood pressure is almost always silent, but those symptoms can point to other health issues, such as severe hypertensive crisis, that warrant a trip to the emergency room, especially if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness, tingling, trouble speaking clearly, and/or vision changes.
If you want to know if you have high blood pressure, resist the urge to turn to the internet for advice and come see us instead. We can get your high blood pressure reading quickly and make a game plan if there’s a problem.
We customize your high blood pressure treatment plan to your unique needs. Usually, we begin with diet changes, exercise guidance, medically supervised weight loss, and other interventions that focus on supporting your overall health. Call or click to schedule an appointment with us and get started today.