The most effective Hypertension, or high blood pressure (BP) treatments are unique to each individual, so talk to your cardiology physician or NYC’s top cardiologist Dr. Ghalchi at Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates for the best possible plan of action.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure (BP), is often referred to as “the silent killer” because it doesn’t display any cardiovascular symptoms, but can lead to many deadly complications. In the U.S., about 76 million people have high blood pressure — that’s one in three Americans over the age of 18, and the risk increases with age.
While high blood pressure (BP) is deadly, it often flies under the radar. Knowledge, coupled with support and hypertension treatment from cardiologists or heart doctors, provides your best defense against hypertension and the problems it can cause.
Hypertension is a disease in its own right. Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, is a side effect of another medical condition, such as certain hormonal disorders, kidney disease, sleep apnea, pregnancy or obesity. Causes may be more evident, but the consequences can be worse because the underlying condition becomes exacerbated when secondary hypertension goes untreated.
What Makes Any Hypertension So Deadly?
The amount of blood your heart sends out per pump and the size of the arteries that it flows through determine your blood pressure. If the arteries are too narrow or the heart pumps too much blood, you’ll develop high blood pressure.
Blood pressure (BP) is measured by two numbers. The first refers to systolic pressure, which measures pressure while the heart is pumping out blood. The second number, called diastolic pressure, is the level of pressure between heartbeats. 120/80 is considered normal. 140/90 is considered high. Anything at or above 180/110 should be treated as a medical emergency by your doctor or NYC cardiologist.
Risks Should Be Taken Seriously
Hypertension can damage many different parts of your body and lead to serious complications. The main factors are how high your blood pressure is and how long it goes unaddressed.
- Hypertension is the leading cause of stroke, which occur when the brain is deprived of blood. High blood pressure weakens the arteries that bring blood to the brain.
- Heart failure, in which the heart isn’t able to pump blood effectively to the body, can occur because high blood pressure (BP) makes the heart overwork all the time.
- Aneurysms form when arteries that have been weakened by high blood pressure bulge out and even rupture, which can be fatal.
- Coronary artery disease, which impairs blood flow to the heart, and heart attacks, which can be a result, are both risks associated with hypertension.
- Hypertension can also damage the heart’s electrical signaling, which sometimes leads to arrhythmias and cardiac arrest, which stops heart function and is often fatal.
Long-standing, untreated hypertension can damage every part of the body, including the eyes, kidneys, and genital system. The biggest problem is that the underlying issue goes unnoticed.
Early Detection Required
It may seem like all that’s required to diagnose high blood pressure is one measurement in cardiologists office, but that can be misleading. Your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day. It’s normal for it to be higher in certain situations and lower in others.
In “white coat hypertension,” for example, patients have a high blood pressure as measured in a cardiologists or heart doctor’s office, but a normal blood pressure at home. The opposite, “masked blood pressure,” is when the patient has high measurements at home, but normal measurements in a clinical cardiology setting or by cardiovascular doctors.
Because of these and other complications, blood pressure (BP) is often tracked over a period of time in cardiologists facility or using a portable device to determine if a diagnosis of hypertension is appropriate. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring allows you to go about your daily life while a portable cardiac device measures your blood pressure at set intervals. This device shows daily patterns, tracks the effectiveness of medication and eliminates the complications from a typical clinical, doctor setting.
Echocardiograms give an image of the heart in real time using sound waves. This can show how your heart is functioning. It’s often the first test done for someone thought to have hypertension. Heart doctors can also use this test to investigate how well your heart is working and whether its chambers have become thickened or enlarged, which happens with hypertension.
Lifestyle Changes Helpful
In five percent of cases, it’s an underlying disease that causes hypertension. Secondary hypertension can be eliminated completely by treating the underlying condition. In the other 95 percent of cases, however, there is no traceable cause. Called “essential hypertension,” it has to be addressed in whatever way is possible.
The most effective hypertension treatments are unique to each individual, so talk to your cardiology physician or cardiologist at Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates for the best possible plan. Lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in treating and preventing hypertension, for example:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting regular exercise
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Practicing relaxation techniques like meditation
- Stress management techniques
Diet is perhaps the biggest change you can make to lower high blood pressure (BP), no matter what the cause. A heart-healthy diet is one that:
- Consists of high fiber in the form of whole grains, fresh vegetables, raw fruit, nuts and legumes
- Reduces salt intake considerably to 1,500 mg or less
- Decreases intake of processed foods that contain most of your daily intake of salt
- Is low in saturated fats and relies on non-tropical vegetable oils and reduced-fat dairy products
- Limits sugar and sweetened drinks
- Includes skinless poultry and fish and only lean cuts of meat
- Relies on at least two meals a week consisting of foods high in omega-3 fatty acid — like salmon and trout
- Moderates alcohol consumption
Effective Medical Hypertension Treatment
There is also a wide range of effective blood pressure medications available. Combined with lifestyle changes, blood pressure medicine are very effective. The most common medications to reduce hypertension include:
- Calcium channel blockers that prevent calcium buildup in your cells by relaxing the blood vessels
- Water pills, also called diuretics, that help your kidneys rid your system of excess salt, which holds water and keeps your blood pressure (BP) high
- ACE inhibitors that cause your blood vessels to relax
- Beta-blockers that slow down your heart and make it beat with lower force
Less common medications may be extremely effective when more common forms of medicine don’t reduce your blood pressure sufficiently. These can include:
- Vasodilators that signal your blood vessel muscles to relax
- Alpha-blockers that also lead to more relaxed vessels
- Centrally acting drugs that send signals to your brain to tell your nervous system to relax and quit pumping so hard
- Renin inhibitors, which is a new form of drug used to relax blood vessels
Most of the time, cardiovascular doctors suggest that hypertension is treatable through medication and lifestyle changes — as long as you follow your doctor or cardiologist’s recommendation faithfully. If left untreated, your blood pressure (BP) can get out of control and lead to serious consequences, including:
- Heart attack
- Vision problems
- Kidney failure
- Aortic bleeding
- Poor circulation
- Erectile dysfunction
Consult your cardiologist or heart doctor to find what regimen is best for you. Better yet, make an appointment today to have your blood pressure checked and discuss Hypertension treatment options.
Dr. Michael Ghalchi, Cardiologist (NYC Heart Doctor)
New York, NY10010
(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
☎ (212) 686-0066