Hypertension Treatment in MA & RI
Hypertension affects millions of Americans, including those living in Southeastern MA and RI. At Southcoast Health, our qualified professionals will work with you to address and treat your hypertension and help you gain a full understanding of your health.
Understanding Your Hypertension
Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, means that the pressure within your blood vessels is too high. Your doctor or healthcare worker takes two measurements to calculate your blood pressure:
- Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure when your heart contracts, pushing the blood to the rest of your body. On your blood pressure reading, this is the top number, which should be below 120.
- Diastolic blood pressure is when your heart relaxes and fills with blood. It’s the bottom part of your blood pressure reading, and it should be under 80.
Hypertension is a very common condition and often impacts those with Type 2 diabetes. One-third of Americans (up to 80 million people) have hypertension, but only half of this group has their high blood pressure under control. The millions of Americans with uncontrolled hypertension have a greater risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke, organ damage, and aneurysms.
What Causes Hypertension?
- Primary or essential hypertension has no known cause and usually develops over time. This is the most common type of hypertension.
- Secondary hypertension develops as the result of an underlying medical condition, such as kidney problems, thyroid disease, or medications. Southcoast Health professionals work to treat the underlying cause, which may reverse high blood pressure.
What Are the Risk Factors for Hypertension?
Anyone can develop high blood pressure, regardless of sex, race, or even lifestyle. However, certain risk factors increase a person’s likelihood of developing primary hypertension:
- African American ethnicity
- Age: 65% of seniors over 60 have high blood pressure
- Family history: If a parent or grandparent has high blood pressure, you are more likely to develop it as well.
- Gender: Middle-aged men are statistically at a higher risk of hypertension than women, while women are more likely to develop it as they grow older.
- Obesity is a major risk factor for hypertension.
- Lifestyle factors like stress, poor diet, smoking, inadequate exercise, and drinking alcohol also increase your risk.
When to Call a Doctor
Hypertension is a “silent” disease. There may be no symptoms, even if your blood pressure soars dangerously high. In fact, nearly one-third of people who have high blood pressure don’t know it. This makes blood pressure screening crucial. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends checks at least every two years, beginning at age 20.
Symptoms of significantly high blood pressure can include:
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Severe headache
- Blood in the urine
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Pounding in your neck, chest, or ears
The sudden occurrence of any of these symptoms warrants a visit to Southcoast Health, where you will be evaluated for high blood pressure. This type of care can help you to avoid a hypertensive crisis, which can lead to a stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure.
Complications of Hypertension
Because hypertension places a great deal of pressure on your blood vessels, it can damage them, as well as your internal organs. Some of the complications that can arise due to hypertension include:
- Heart attack or stroke – High blood pressure may lead to thickening or hardening of the arteries (called atherosclerosis). This can cause a heart attack, stroke, or other complications.
- Aneurysm – Increased blood pressure causes blood vessels to bulge, leading to an aneurysm. A ruptured aneurysm can be life-threatening.
- Heart failure
- Weakened, narrowed kidney blood vessels
- Vision loss
- Metabolic syndrome – This is a group of disorders affecting your metabolism that brings an increased risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Trouble with memory/dementia
How Southcoast Health Treats Hypertension
Treating whatever is triggering secondary hypertension usually stabilizes blood pressure. However, for primary hypertension, the main treatment we recommend is lifestyle changes. This is likely to include regular exercise, a low-salt diet, and refraining from smoking. One or more of the following medications may also be prescribed:
- ARBs (angiotensin II receptor blockers)
- ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors
- Alpha blockers
- Beta blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
Comprehensive Hypertension Care Near You in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
For those with hypertension, proper care is the key to longterm positive health. At Southcoast Health, we are dedicated to treating patients with hypertension in Fall River, North Dartmouth, and Wareham, MA, as well as Portsmouth, RI and the surrounding communities. We will work with you to determine and then address the cause of your hypertension- our doctors will provide expert care no matter the degree of your high blood pressure. To learn more or to find a doctor near you, please contact us today.