Hypertension is the term used to describe high blood pressure. Blood pressure readings are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and usually given as two numbers. For example, 120 over 80 (written as 120/80 mmHg). The top number is your systolic pressure, the pressure created when your heart beats. It is considered high if it is consistently over 140. The bottom number is your diastolic pressure, the pressure inside blood vessels when the heart is at rest. It is considered high if it is consistently over 90.
Most of the time, there are no symptoms of hypertension. However, symptoms that may occur include:
- Chest pain
- Ear noise or buzzing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Vision changes
If you have a severe headache or any of the symptoms above, see your doctor right away. These may be signs of a complication or dangerously high blood pressure called malignant hypertension.
The goal of treatment is to reduce blood pressure so that you have a lower risk of complications.
There are many different medicines that can be used to treat high blood pressure, including:
- Alpha blockers
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
- Calcium channel blockers
- Central alpha agonists
- Renin inhibitors, including aliskiren (Tekturna)
Your doctor may also tell you to exercise, lose weight and follow a healthier diet. If you have pre-hypertension, your doctor may recommend the same lifestyle changes to bring your blood pressure down to a normal range.
Texas Health is committed to providing quality care to heart and vascular patients throughout North Texas and beyond. While various technologies and services are discussed here, not all of our hospitals offer every treatment and diagnostic technology highlighted. Call 1-877-THR-WELL to learn more about heart and vascular services at a Texas Health hospital near you.