One-third of all adults have hypertension (high blood pressure), a condition that sneaks up on you, leading to cardiovascular disease without ever causing a symptom. The team at Midwest Regional Health Services in Omaha, Nebraska, encourages you to learn about your risks for hypertension and how often you should have your blood pressure checked. Early detection through screening is the only way to treat hypertension before it causes serious complications. To schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking feature.
Your blood pressure represents the force of blood pushing against the artery walls as it circulates through your body. When you have hypertension, the extra force gradually damages arterial walls, creating a rough spot that allows cholesterol to stick to the wall.
Over time, more cholesterol and other substances accumulate in the same area. As a result, you end up with hardened plaque and narrowed arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the cause of serious health problems such as coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease.
As plaque blocks blood flow, your heart works harder to push blood through the artery, a task that eventually takes a toll on heart muscles. Reduced blood flow means that the tissues served by that artery can’t get the nutrients and oxygen they need to survive. Should a piece of plaque break loose, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
If you don’t get your blood pressure checked, you won’t know if you have hypertension because it doesn’t cause symptoms. Symptoms only develop when blood flow is so severely blocked it causes pain. Unfortunately, the first symptom for most patients is a heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism.
Hypertension can be caused by an underlying health condition such as kidney disease and obstructive sleep apnea. In most patients, however, hypertension develops gradually over years of an unhealthy lifestyle.
These lifestyle factors increase your risk for hypertension:
Smoking cigarettes is one of the leading risk factors for high blood pressure. The chemicals in cigarettes damage the lining of your artery walls and increase your risk for atherosclerosis.
Your treatment begins with a plan to change the lifestyle factors contributing to hypertension. Your provider at Midwest Regional Health Services helps with a diet and exercise plan, smoking cessation, and stress reduction counseling.
Depending on the severity of your hypertension and the impact of your lifestyle changes, your provider may also prescribe medications to lower your blood pressure.
To schedule a blood pressure screening or a physical exam, call Midwest Regional Health Services or book an appointment online.