Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives. Your heart is constantly pumping blood through your arteries, veins, and capillaries, 24/7. Hypertension occurs when the pressure of your blood pressing outward against your blood vessels is abnormally high.
This can occur for years without symptoms, but consistent hypertension leads to health problems down the road, such as heart failure and stroke.
Types of Hypertension
There are two types of hypertension:
- Primary hypertension has no identifiable cause. It occurs in most adults and becomes more common with age.
- Secondary hypertension is caused by an underlying condition, such as sleep apnea, congenital birth defects, certain medications, or illegal drugs. It tends to be more sudden and severe than primary hypertension.
There are many ways to treat hypertension, including medication. But often the most effective way is changing your lifestyle:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet with less salt and processed foods.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Get more exercise.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Quit smoking.
- Lower your stress levels using deep breathing, meditation, and coping techniques.
Schedule regular checkups at familyfirst so we can monitor your blood pressure. If it’s abnormally high, we’ll help you lower it to a healthy level. Hypertension is common and easily manageable once you find the approach that’s right for you.