Up to 47% of American adults have hypertension (high blood pressure), a chronic condition that increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. At Leonida Family Practice in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, board-certified family medicine physician Efren B. Leonida, MD, Jennifer Leonida, CRNP, and the team provide monitoring and treatment of hypertension. They can make recommendations to lower your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. Call Leonida Family Practice to receive treatment for hypertension, or book a consultation online today.

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What is hypertension?

Hypertension (high blood pressure) occurs when the force of the blood pumping through your arteries remains abnormally high. If you have high blood pressure, your heart works harder to pump blood, increasing your risk of more serious health problems. To lower your blood pressure, make healthy lifestyle changes and, when necessary, take medication to keep it in check.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Hypertension doesn’t present any obvious symptoms, which is why it’s called the “silent killer.” Visiting Leonida Family Practice once yearly for a wellness exam is the easiest way to reduce your risk. At each visit, the team checks your blood pressure, which alerts them to any change that may be a sign of hypertension.

Who is at risk of hypertension?

Hypertension affects people of all backgrounds, but several factors may increase your risk, including:

  • Being middle-aged
  • Having a family history of high blood pressure
  • Being overweight
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking and vaping
  • Stress
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating lots of salt

You’re also more likely to have high blood pressure if you have a chronic health problem like kidney disease, diabetes, or sleep apnea.

How is hypertension diagnosed?

Your Leonida Family Practice provider reviews your medical history, asks about your lifestyle, and completes a physical exam. Next, they listen to your heart with a stethoscope and take your blood pressure with an inflatable cuff and a pressure-measuring gauge.

A blood pressure reading has two numbers:

Systolic blood pressure (top number)

The top number refers to the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.

Diastolic blood pressure (bottom number)

The bottom number refers to the pressure in your arteries between beats.

According to the American Heart Association, a normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 mm/Hg (or lower). A reading that’s equal to or greater than 130/80 mm/Hg indicates high blood pressure.

How is hypertension treated?

Treatment of hypertension depends on your age, health history, and lifestyle. If you have borderline high blood pressure, healthy lifestyle changes like losing weight, exercising regularly, or quitting smoking may be enough to keep your numbers in check.

If your blood pressure remains high, even after healthy lifestyle changes, the team might recommend prescription medication. There are various drugs used to treat hypertension, including:

  • Water pills (diuretics)
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Alpha-blockers
  • Beta-blockers

Follow the team’s instructions and take your blood pressure medication(s) as prescribed.

Call Leonida Family Practice to learn more about treatment for hypertension, or book online today.