Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, seldom causes symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage. Then you face the risk of serious complications like a heart attack. At Central Valley Cardiovascular Center, Ranjit Rajpal, MD, FACP, FACC, offers blood pressure screenings and manages hypertension with treatments that maintain your health for the long run. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Madera, California, or use the online booking feature today.

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What causes hypertension?

The force of blood pushing against your artery walls determines your blood pressure. It’s important to keep your blood pressure within a specific range. When it drops too low, your brain and the rest of your body don’t get the oxygen they need to keep working.

If your blood pressure is too high, it damages your blood vessels and causes cardiovascular disease. Hypertension most commonly develops over time as you follow an unhealthy lifestyle.

The key factors leading to high blood pressure include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Consuming too much salt
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Living with daily stress

Health conditions such as chronic kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and thyroid disease can also cause hypertension.

Does hypertension cause health complications?

Hypertension causes atherosclerosis, a condition that develops when cholesterol builds up in the artery wall. High blood pressure accelerates the disease because cholesterol tends to stick to areas of the area wall damaged by hypertension.

Untreated atherosclerosis may result in:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Heart failure
  • Vision loss

Hypertension also increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Does hypertension cause symptoms?

Unfortunately, hypertension doesn’t cause symptoms. Your blood pressure and atherosclerosis can keep getting worse for years, and you won’t have a clue until the plaque gets so large it stops blood from going through the artery.

If you have symptoms, you may have leg pain or chest pain. Otherwise, your first symptom could be a heart attack or stroke.

How is hypertension treated?

When Dr. Rajpal at Central Valley Cardiovascular Center diagnoses hypertension at an early stage, lifestyle changes may bring it back down to the normal range. For example, eating less salt, adding potassium-rich foods to your diet, and losing weight can have a significant impact on your blood pressure.

If your hypertension persists despite lifestyle changes or your blood pressure is too high at the time of diagnosis, Dr. Rajpal prescribes medication.

Medications that lower blood pressure work in different ways. You may take one that helps your body eliminate water and salt, relaxes blood vessels, or widens blood vessels, to give you a few examples.

Whether it’s time to have your blood pressure checked, you want a risk assessment, or you have hypertension and need ongoing medical care, call Central Valley Cardiovascular Center, or book an appointment online today.