Hypertension

Tamara Maher, DO -  - Family Medicine Physician

Maher Family Practice

Tamara Maher, DO

Family Medicine Physician located in Los Alamitos, CA

Hypertension is probably more familiar to you as high blood pressure, a condition that affects around 75 million Americans, or one in three adults. Having your blood pressure measured regularly is essential to ensure it’s within normal parameters, a service Tamara Maher, DO, of Maher Family Practice provides for patients in Los Alamitos, California. Book your routine blood pressure checkup by calling the practice today or schedule an appointment using the online tool.

Hypertension Q & A

What is hypertension?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a condition caused by an increase in the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries. If left untreated, high blood pressure can cause some serious health problems such as heart disease, angina, stroke, and chronic kidney disease.

Your blood pressure reading measures the quantity of blood pumping through your heart and resistance to blood flow through your arteries. Higher quantities of blood and narrowing arteries are the cause of a high blood pressure reading.

One of the primary concerns about having high blood pressure is that you may live with it for years without being aware that you have a problem that could seriously impact your health. Symptoms don’t tend to manifest themselves until the condition becomes serious and there’s permanent damage to the blood vessels.

How is hypertension diagnosed?

It’s easy to diagnose hypertension with a simple blood pressure test. You may already be familiar with the test, as it’s a basic health check that most doctors perform routinely. Dr. Maher places a cuff around your arm which inflates to increase pressure on the blood vessels. By measuring the flow of blood, she can determine your blood pressure reading, which has two elements:

  • Systolic: measurement of pressure in the arteries when the heart’s beating
  • Diastolic: measurement of pressure in the arteries between heartbeats

What are the different stages of hypertension?

A normal blood pressure reading would be around 120/80. A higher reading indicates hypertension at one of the following stages:

Elevated blood pressure

Raised blood pressure readings would place the systolic pressure between 120 and 129, or diastolic pressure below 80. If your blood pressure is in this range and steps aren’t taken to improve it, you may well become hypertensive.

Stage one hypertension

A reading of systolic pressure between 130 and 139 or diastolic pressure between 80 and 89 indicates stage one hypertension.

Stage two hypertension

Higher readings indicating the more serious stage two hypertension would be 140 or above systolic pressure, or 90 or above diastolic.

After your blood pressure check, Dr. Maher discusses the readings with you and explains what they mean, so you have a clear understanding of the implications for your health.

What causes hypertension?

Hypertension often develops over many years and is a common effect of the aging process. The cause of hypertension, in this case, is undefinable, and it’s termed primary hypertension. In some cases, hypertension is brought on by an underlying health condition and is referred to as secondary hypertension. Typical health problems that lead to secondary hypertension include:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Kidney problems
  • Diabetes
  • Tumors of the adrenal gland
  • Thyroid malfunction
  • Congenital blood vessel problems

Illegal stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines and some medications including contraceptive pills and cold treatments can also cause secondary hypertension.

Are some people more likely to develop hypertension?

High blood pressure is seen most frequently in the following groups:

  • Those over 65
  • People of African descent
  • Families with a history of hypertension
  • People who are overweight or obese
  • People who don’t exercise regularly
  • Tobacco smokers
  • Heavy drinkers
  • People with chronic stress problems
  • Pregnant women

A diet with too much salt or too little potassium can also contribute to the development of high blood pressure.

It’s vitally important to have your blood pressure measured regularly. If you haven’t been for a blood pressure checkup recently, make an appointment to see Dr. Maher by calling Maher Family Practice today, or book using the online tool.