Every one of us knows what it’s like to get our blood pressure checked. That special sleeve goes over your arm and squeezes for a few seconds before letting go. Then the nurse or doctor records the results. Usually, they’ll tell you the numbers (although many patients don’t really know what those numbers mean) and indicate whether your blood pressure is normal – or whether it falls outside the normal range.
Generally speaking, if your blood pressure is more than 90/60, but less than 120/70, you have ideal and healthy blood pressure. If your top number is more than 140, or your bottom number is more than 90, it’s possible you have high blood pressure. If your to number is less than 90, or if your bottom number is less than 60, you might have low blood pressure. In either case, your doctor or nurse may prescribe medication and/or lifestyle changes to bring your blood pressure into the ideal range.
That said, high blood pressure if a very common problem and many people have it. Chances are, you or someone you know has already been diagnosed with high blood pressure. But what are the most common causes of this condition? What can be done to control high blood pressure?
Let’s start with the first question. There are many different factors that can cause or contribute to high blood pressure, including:
- High sodium intake
- Drinking too much
- Not exercising enough
- Genetic factors
- Family history
- Sleep apnea
- Disorders in the adrenal glands, thyroid or kidneys
A huge percentage of adults will have at least one of these risk factors, but it’s worth noting that many of these things involve lifestyle choices. Limiting the amount of sodium in your diet, only drinking moderately, cutting out smoking, and looking for ways to reduce stress in your daily life – these are all effective ways to limit your risk for high blood pressure. Getting adequate exercise is also very important for healthy blood pressure.
Other factors are beyond control, such as genetics and family history. But the more we understand about high blood pressure and its causes, the more we can do to prevent it.
So how is high blood pressure treated? There are effective medications for lowering blood pressure, but doctors typically use a multi-faceted approach that focuses on lifestyle changes in conjunction with medication.
How to get your blood pressure checked
If you’re concerned about blood pressure, it’s one of the easiest things to get checked – and regardless whether or not you’re concerned, it’s a good idea to get checked anyway. This will be part of your regular physical, but medical professionals will often check your blood pressure no matter why you’ve come in to see them.
Urgent care is a great option for getting your blood pressure checked, and for dealing with any non-life threatening medical situations. You can walk right in without an appointment and be seen immediately. Ask your doctor or nurse for more information if you have any other questions or concerns about your blood pressure.