It is normal for blood pressure to fluctuate throughout the day depending on your level of activity, stress, excitement, fear, etcetera.
If your blood pressure stays consistently elevated you may be diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure). High blood pressure is known as the ‘silent killer' because you may have high blood pressure and not even know it. Usually there are no symptoms. That is why it's some important you monitor your blood pressure on a fairly regular basis.
If you do not take steps to control high blood pressure you risk long term consequences that can be fatal.
How does high blood pressure impact your body?
Let me give you a brief idea of what's going on within your body when your blood pressure is elevated.
High blood pressure increases the hearts workload by making the heart pump harder through the arteries. If high blood pressure continues over a long period of time, the functioning of the heart and arteries (and other organs, such as the kidneys') gradually deteriorates under the strain. The added workload causes the heart to enlarge. If your heart enlarges too much, it may have difficulty meeting the needs of your body.
Arteries harden as a normal process of aging. High blood pressure speeds up this process. Hardened and narrowed arteries are less effective at delivering oxygen and nutrients to your organs. If the needs of your organs are not met, they do not work properly. Blood clot's become a risk as arteries narrow, cutting off the body's blood supply.
High blood pressure increases your risk for stroke, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and heart attack. High blood pressure combined with excess weight, high cholesterol, smoking, or diabetes, increases the risk exponentially.
There is no one set time for how long it takes for these complications to arise. Everyone's situation is different. I encourage you to work with your physician to treat your condition now.
High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease
Cardiomegaly, an enlarged heart, is another risk of high blood pressure I mentioned above. Symptoms of cardiomegaly can include fatigue, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, to more serious signs of congestive heart failure. This is when the heart is not longer able to function and adequately circulate blood.
Treating High Blood Pressure
There is no one set time for how long it takes for these complications to arise. Everyone's situation is different. If you have high blood pressure you need to work with your physician to treat your condition now.
Treatment may include diet and lifestyle changes, such as implementing the DASH Diet to lower blood pressure, losing weight, or smoking cessation. Your treatment plan may include medication. If you do take medication I encourage you to still make necessary diet and lifestyle changes to increase the effectiveness of your medication. . .and maybe eventually you'll be able to wean off the medications with the assistance of your physician.
Published On: April 12, 2011