What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force produced by blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.
The size and elasticity of the artery walls can also affect blood pressure. Each time the heart beats, pressure is created inside the arteries. The pressure is greatest when blood is pumped out of the heart into the arteries. When the heart relaxes between beats, the pressure in the arteries falls.
Two numbers are recorded when measuring blood pressure.
- The top number, or Systolic pressure, refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart contracts and pumps blood through the body.
- The bottom number, or Diastolic pressure, refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart is at rest and is filling with blood.
Most often you will see blood pressure numbers written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80 mmHg. (The mmHg is millimeters of mercury – the units used to measure blood pressure.)
Knowing and understanding your blood pressure numbers is important, even when you are feeling fine. If your blood pressure is normal, Dr. Khoo can provide you with suggestions on how to keep it that way. If your blood pressure is too high, she may suggest specific treatment options that that will control the level of blood pressure in an effort to help prevent long term damage to your body’s organs.
About 1 in 3 adults in the United States has elevated blood pressure. The condition itself is generally “asymptomatic”, meaning it usually has no signs or symptoms. You can have HBP for years without ever knowing it. During this time HBP can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of your body.
People that are particularly at risk for hypertension include:
- People who have diabetes, gout, or kidney disease
- African Americans (particularly those who live in the southeastern United States)
- People in their early to middle adult years; men in this age group have higher blood pressure more often than women in this age group
- People in their middle to later adult years; women in this age group have higher blood pressure more often than men in this age group (more women have high blood pressure after menopause than men of the same age)
- Middle-aged and elderly people; more than half of all Americans age 60 and older have high blood pressure
- People with a family history of high blood pressure
- Obese people
- Heavy drinkers of alcohol
Women who are taking oral contraceptives
Hypertension directly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. With high blood pressure, the arteries may have an increased resistance against the flow of blood, causing the heart to pump harder to circulate the blood. Usually, high blood pressure has no signs or symptoms. However, you can determine if your blood pressure is high by having it checked regularly by Khoo & Associates Cardiology and Wellness.
Treatment generally includes lifestyle modification including a healthy, low sodium diet, regular exercise and weight loss. Dr. Khoo will determine if you need medication and which type is best for your particular situation.
People who have hypertension can take steps to control it and reduce their risk for related health problems. The key steps include following a healthy lifestyle, having ongoing medical care, and following the treatment plan provided by Dr. Khoo.
We encourage you to ask as many questions as necessary until you are confident that you understand your heart condition, medications or procedures you may be considering.
In her practice as a top heart doctor in Albuquerque, Dr. Michelle Khoo wants you to be informed, comfortable and confident about your treatment plan.
Quality Healthcare is at the Heart of Everything We Do.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Khoo call 1-505-248-1802 or click here to request an appointment online.
Khoo & Associates Cardiology and Wellness is a boutique Cardiovascular Health & Wellness practice that is focused on delivering outstanding, comprehensive and ethical cardiovascular care to patients in Albuquerque and the surrounding counties of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia in New Mexico.
Our experienced and dedicated team offers our patients the combined collective experience and knowledge necessary to ensure the highest level of patient care in two convenient office locations – Downtown Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.