A little over one billion people suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension) worldwide, and most of the time, they don’t even know it. Also known as the “silent killer,” high blood pressure is a condition that the expert cardiologists at Maryland Cardiology Associates are well-versed in identifying and treating. To learn more about creating a plan to regulate your blood pressure, call the Greenbelt, Maryland, office or book an appointment online today.

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What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure or hypertension refers to when the force and pressure with which your blood circulates throughout your body is too high. When this happens, your blood collides with your artery walls too forcefully, leading to a cast of potential complications down the line.

When you visit Maryland Cardiology Associates, your cardiologist uses a machine to evaluate your pressure, i.e., how much blood your heart pumps, the speed at which it does so, and how resistant your artery walls are to the blood flow.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

High blood pressure does not always come with symptoms. Its lack of symptoms is why it is often called the “silent killer.” Remember, it isn’t because you are not experiencing any symptoms that your arteries are not sustaining damage.

Should you experience symptoms of hypertension, however, some of them may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Fatigue or confusion
  • Vision issues
  • Bloody urine

You should contact a cardiologist at Maryland Cardiology Associates immediately if you have experienced any of the above symptoms. If you haven’t, you should still consider getting in touch with a cardiologist for a check-up.

What causes high blood pressure?

There are two main types of hypertension, primary and secondary. Each type has its own set of causes, though the cause of primary hypertension is as of yet unknown.

Primary hypertension

Primary hypertension occurs gradually over many years, usually without exhibiting any symptoms, so identifying its underlying cause is complicated and often impossible.

Secondary hypertension

Secondary hypertension typically arises as a result of an underlying condition. Some of these conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Kidney complications
  • Chronic alcohol consumption
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • The use of drugs like amphetamines

In some cases, the regular use of certain medications can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure, like hormonal birth control, various prescription drugs, and cold remedies.

If left untreated, high blood pressure in all its forms can lead to memory loss, heart failure, strokes, metabolic syndrome, and, in extreme cases, death.

What is pulmonary hypertension?

You may experience pulmonary hypertension if the pressure in the blood vessels that lead blood from your heart to your lungs is too high. With pulmonary hypertension, you can experience aches and chest pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath, among other symptoms.

A common condition that causes pulmonary hypertension is coronary artery disease, and it can occur with heart failure.

How do you treat high blood pressure?

Treatments for high blood pressure often include lifestyle changes and a holistic approach to your overall health.

Your cardiologist at Maryland Cardiology Associates evaluates your medical history and conducts a physical exam to assess your overall well-being.

Following this exam, your cardiologist may recommend regular physical exercise, a nutrient-rich diet, and suggest various behaviors that contribute to lowering your blood pressure.

For instance, they may recommend that you stop smoking, learn how to manage your stress better, reduce your alcohol consumption, and more. Your cardiologist might also prescribe medication that helps stabilize your blood pressure.

If high blood pressure runs in your family or you think you may be experiencing symptoms, call or book an appointment online today with an expert at Maryland Cardiology Associates.