- Find a Doctor
- Medical Services
- Patients & Visitors
- Classes & Events
- Health Library
- Why Choose Sharp?
Whenever you visit your doctor, chances are someone wraps a cuff around your upper arm and checks your blood pressure. But while you may be familiar with this simple test, you may not understand why keeping track of your blood pressure is so important to your health.
Why High Blood Pressure Is a Problem
As blood moves through the arteries, it puts pressure on the artery walls. This pressure goes up and down depending on several things, including physical activity, diet and medications. A person has high blood pressure when the pressure is elevated over a period of time.
It’s important to keep tabs on your blood pressure. If it’s high and you don’t know it, or if you don’t control it, you may be at greater risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease and other serious conditions. For example, a study reported in Neurology found that people with high blood pressure were 60 percent more likely to have “silent” strokes — strokes that don’t cause obvious symptoms but damage the brain — than those with normal blood pressure. Detecting high blood pressure early and controlling it can help you avoid such life-threatening conditions.
Keep It in Check
Blood pressure tends to rise with age. In addition, people who are obese, who have certain medical problems such as diabetes or who take certain medications are also at risk. You can, however, take steps to prevent and/or control high blood pressure:
Making lifestyle adjustments is extremely important in the battle against hypertension, according to Dr. Suhail Zavaro, a Sharp Grossmont Hospital-affiliated cardiologist. “In terms of healthy eating, I recommend to my patients to adopt a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, with reduced saturated and total fat. Treating and controlling hypertension early in its course can significantly reduce the risk of developing strokes, heart attacks or kidney failure.”
For More Information
For more information about heart and vascular care at Sharp or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego cardiologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about heart and vascular care, visit Cardiovascular Diseases in Adult Health or read the Heart and Cardiovascular News archive.