High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the most common cardiovascular disease and a major risk factor for kidney disease. The nephrologists at Florida Kidney Physicians specialize in treating hypertension to prevent or slow the progression of kidney damage.
Blood pressure refers to the amount of force with which blood presses against the walls of the arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. If this pressure or force rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways. Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers. Your systolic blood pressure is recorded as the top number and your diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number.
For example, a blood pressure that is 120/80 mm Hg is stated as “120 over 80.” Systolic pressure is the amount of force that occurs when your heart contracts to pump blood out of your heart. Your diastolic pressure is the minimum pressure between heartbeats when the heart is relaxed. The table below shows the classification for normal as well as high blood pressure in adults.
||Systolic (Top Number)
||Diastolic (Bottom Number)
||Less than 120
||Less than 80
|High Blood Pressure – Stage 1
|High Blood Pressure – Stage 2
||160 or higher
||100 or higher
High blood pressure is termed a “silent killer” because it usually does not have symptoms, but can cause significant cardiovascular and organ damage. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to life-threatening medical conditions.
High blood pressure often develops over many years, and it affects nearly everyone eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. Once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it with lifestyle changes and medication, and even simple home monitoring. Learn more about treatments for high blood pressure.
About one third of adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. Some risk factors include age, race (African Americans have a higher incidence of hypertension than other ethnic groups), family history, or being overweight.
Diets high in sodium or low in potassium or vitamin D can contribute to hypertension. Low amounts of physical activity, using tobacco, or drinking alcohol excessively are also risk factors. People with chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are more likely to have high blood pressure.
Although many people with high blood pressure do not experience any symptoms, it can cause very serious health problems if left untreated. Some conditions associated with high blood pressure include:
- Heart attacks
- Kidney damage and disease
- Eye damage
If you have risk factors for high blood pressure, it is important to be routinely checked, and if you already have high blood pressure, it is important to be seen by an expert.
For an appointment with a board-certified nephrologist contact Florida Kidney Physicians today or you can request an appointment online.