Could You Have High Blood Pressure and Not Know It?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a potentially fatal condition. However, many people have no idea that they have high blood pressure until symptoms appear and get rushed to an ER. Understanding the dangers of high blood pressure (BP), what your normal reading is, and how to keep your BP readings at safe levels could save your life.

At I & R Medical Services, P.C., in Forest Hills, New York, Dr. Roza Israel is committed to preventive medicine and educating her patients about good lifestyle choices. She can help you determine what your normal BP reading is and control your blood pressure so you can remain healthy and avoid the dangers of hypertension — the “silent killer.”

Blood pressure levels

Your blood pressure reading is composed of two numbers: the systolic pressure, and the diastolic pressure. The first tells you what the pressure is in your arteries during a heartbeat, when blood is being actively pumped through them. The second tells you what the pressure is between heartbeats. It’s written as a set of two numbers separated by a slash, and verbalized like this (for example): 120 over 80.

There are five categories of adult blood pressure (children can read differently, so ask your child’s pediatrician if you have questions about their blood pressure):

Healthy

Your blood pressure is probably healthy if your reading is below 120/80. Some people have blood pressure that is naturally low, however, and a “high” reading for them could seem normal. It’s important to know what your baseline is when you are healthy and not stressed.

Elevated

If your BP reads between 120-129/less than 80, your blood pressure may be elevated. You probably don’t need medication, and can make lifestyle changes to lower your BP.

Stage one hypertension

BP readings between 130-139/80-89 mean you have stage one hypertension, and may need medication in addition to lifestyle changes to get your BP under control. 

Stage two hypertension

If your BP shows a reading 140 or above/90 or above, you have stage two hypertension and need medication to manage your BP. Your hypertension could also be setting you up for other health issues, including cardiovascular risks, stroke, eye problems, or even kidney failure. 

Hypertensive crisis

If your reading has gone above 180/120, you are in hypertensive crisis. This is when “high BP symptoms” usually show up, including:

If you have any of these symptoms, a trip to the ER may be required to quickly stabilize your high blood pressure.

The importance of accurate BP readings

If you don’t get your blood pressure checked regularly by a doctor, high blood pressure can start to become a problem and you won’t even know it is happening. You can often get your BP measured for free using a machine at a pharmacy, but if the cuff is put on wrong or is the wrong size, the reading can be inaccurate. 

If you have a family history of high blood pressure, or have had high blood pressure at doctor visits, Dr. Medani will want to measure your blood pressure frequently to check for elevation. She can also help you learn how to manage your blood pressure levels naturally and prescribe medication if your levels remain too high. 

Need to get your blood pressure checked? Contact our office at 718-737-9559 or request an appointment today using our online scheduler. 

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