The first sign you’ll have of hypertension is likely to be a life-threatening event such as a heart attack or stroke. You can have high blood pressure for years without having one symptom or warning sign. As a specialist in internal medicine, Dr. Amanuel Sima, MD, offers blood pressure screening and expert long-term management of hypertension, helping you maintain normal blood pressure so you can live a long, healthy life. To schedule hypertension screening, call one of the offices in Beverly Hills and Inglewood, California, or use the online booking feature.
As blood circulates through your body, it pushes against blood vessel walls, creating a force called blood pressure. Your blood pressure changes, depending on factors such as the health of your blood vessels, the strength of your heartbeat, and the amount of blood in circulation.
When you have hypertension (high blood pressure), the excessive force damages artery walls. As a result, a rough area is created, giving cholesterol the perfect place to get stuck.
Over time, cholesterol, other fats, and calcium accumulate at that rough spot, forming plaque that hardens and narrows the artery. This condition is called atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis poses two serious threats. First, it can block the artery and inhibit blood flow, a problem that’s well-known for causing peripheral artery disease. And second, a piece of the plaque can break free and travel to your heart, lungs, or brain. When this happens, you can have a heart attack, pulmonary embolism, or stroke, respectively. Over time, atherosclerosis can also damage small vessels in your kidneys, contributing to kidney disease.
Hypertension is often called the silent killer because it doesn’t cause symptoms until atherosclerosis or another associated complication causes a serious health problem. You can have high blood pressure for years, but you’ll never know it if you don’t have your blood pressure checked.
In most patients, a specific cause can’t be determined. Their hypertension develops over the years due to risk factors such as:
Less often, hypertension is caused by an underlying health condition. Problems like sleep apnea, thyroid disorders, and kidney disease may lead to hypertension.
Since lifestyle factors are the primary causes of hypertension, your treatment begins with a plan to change those issues, whether that means losing weight, changing your diet, developing an exercise plan, or learning ways to manage stress. Smoking damages blood vessels and accelerates atherosclerosis, so it’s also important to stop smoking.
If your blood pressure is mildly or moderately elevated, lifestyle changes may be enough to bring it back to normal levels. When lifestyle changes don’t help, or you have dangerously high blood pressure, Dr. Sima prescribes medication to reduce your hypertension.
If you’re overdue for blood pressure screening, call Dr. Amanuel Sima, MD, or schedule a routine checkup online.