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Living with high blood pressure (HBP) heightens the risk of being impacted by a variety of potentially serious conditions, including stroke and heart disease.
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force of your blood pushing against your vessel walls. HBP, or hypertension, is diagnosed when that pressure is consistently too high.
“High blood pressure is sometimes called a silent killer because it doesn’t cause symptoms and won’t be caught without regular blood pressure readings,” said Dr. Irfan Dadabhoy, a primary care physician at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital. “Having HBP makes you four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease. The only way to know whether you have HPB is to have it checked. Most likely, your blood pressure is measured and recorded every time you go to your health care provider’s office.”
Blood Pressure Categories
Your systolic pressure, or the top number of your reading, is the pressure in the arteries as the heart beats. Your diastolic pressure, or the bottom number, is a measurement of the pressure in the arteries as the heart muscle rests. “Typically, the top number receives more attention, but elevated diastolic pressure alone also increases cardiovascular disease risk,” Dadabhoy said.
Managing High Blood Pressure
The best strategy for preventing HBP from leading to serious conditions begins by working with your health care provider sooner to find ways to successfully manage the condition through lifestyle changes.
“There’s no cure for high blood pressure, but you can successfully manage it with medication and living a healthy lifestyle,” Dadabhoy said.
The following changes can help you keep a lid on HBP.
• Monitoring your blood pressure regularly
• Taking your medications as prescribed
• Eating a well-balanced, low-salt diet (DASH diet)
• Exercising regularly
• Maintaining a healthy weight that you and your doctor have agreed on
• Quitting smoking
• Increasing potassium intake, if recommended by your doctor
• Managing stress
• Limiting alcohol
Know Your Numbers
Being aware of your blood pressure status by checking it regularly is key to preventing it from spiraling out of control. Here is a breakdown of blood pressure readings:
Normal Range: Less than 120 systolic (upper number) and less than 80 diastolic (lower number)
Elevated: 120-129 over 80
High Blood Pressure Stage 1: 130-139 over 80-89
High Blood Pressure Stage 2: 140 or higher over 90 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis: Higher than 180 over 120
Dadabhoy provides a full range of family medicine services, including routine checkups and immunizations, diagnosis and management of acute and chronic illnesses, and advanced treatment of complex conditions, such as diabetes and asthma. To schedule an appointment, call 832.556.6670, or visit houstonmethodist.org/baytown.
Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital is taking every necessary precaution during the coronavirus pandemic to keep you and our staff members safe, including, screening all patients, ensuring only those without COVID-19 symptoms are seen in the office; wearing masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) while providing patient care; reorganizing waiting rooms and check-in lines to ensure social distancing, and implementing additional sanitation processes to disinfect all equipment and surfaces.
Houston Methodist Baytown is designated as a COVID-19 vaccine hub. To register for your vaccine, visit houstonmethodist.org/vaccine.
About Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital
Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital has provided Baytown and East Houston with quality medical care since opening its doors in 1948. The hospital has grown throughout the years with the community, providing comprehensive care at all stages of life. As a health care leader, the hospital is proud to have a fully integrated residency program focused on educating and inspiring future practitioners. Today, Houston Methodist Baytown provides some of the most advanced and innovative procedures while never losing focus on compassionate and patient-centered care. Houstonmethodist.org/baytown.