We’re going to start off by answering the question we posed in the title: Yes, you can have high blood pressure and not know it. In fact, high blood pressure, or hypertension, is often referred to as a silent killer, because there are rarely signs of the disease until a serious cardiac event occurs.

About half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, placing them at far greater risk for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in this country. However, rather than focusing on this unfortunate statistic, we want to highlight a more positive one, which is that 90% of heart disease is preventable. And often, this involves lowering your blood pressure.

At South Shore Cardiovascular Associates, our heart health experts have made it their mission to help patients achieve optimal cardiovascular health. An important part of these efforts is evaluating blood pressure numbers and taking steps to lower them, if necessary.

In the following, we review why high blood pressure is dangerous, how you can identify the issue, and what we can do to improve the numbers.

Understanding your blood pressure

A blood pressure test measures the amount of force your blood places on the walls of your arteries. A blood pressure reading contains two categories:

  • Systolic, which is the force of your blood on your arterial walls during a heartbeat
  • Diastolic, which is the force of your blood on your arterial walls between heartbeats

When you get a reading, the systolic number is first, followed by the diastolic number. A good blood pressure reading is less than 120/80. We consider you to have elevated blood pressure if you’re between 120/80 to 129/80. We give you a hypertension diagnosis if your numbers are 130/80 or higher.

When you have high blood pressure, the constant force of the blood against your arterial walls weakens your blood vessels over time, leaving you more prone to serious problems, such as heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, and heart failure.

How to figure out your blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure, the odds are good that you won’t experience any outward signs of a problem. Hypertension is mostly asymptomatic and is often only discovered after a serious event, such as a heart attack.

That said, figuring out your blood pressure couldn’t be easier. All it takes is a simple blood pressure reading, which we can provide in a few painless seconds. To get your reading, we place a cuff over your arm, inflate the cuff, and then release the air slowly as we measure the strength of your pulse.

Lowering your blood pressure

If we discover that you have high blood pressure, we can take immediate steps to lower these numbers. For example, we can:

  • Prescribe medications
  • Craft an exercise plan
  • Design a healthy diet plan
  • Help you stop bad habits, such as smoking or drinking
  • Craft a weight loss plan

As you can see, lifestyle changes are paramount when it comes to managing your blood pressure. We understand that doing these things can be easier said than done, but we’re here to help. We can tailor a plan that will meet your needs and work with your lifestyle, and we can provide you resources to help you reach your heart health goals.

To make sure your blood pressure stays within a healthy range, book an appointment online or over the phone with South Shore Cardiovascular Associates today. We have offices in Brandon, Riverview, Tampa, and Sun City Center, Florida.

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