High Blood Pressure

Dominion Family Healthcare

Family Medicine & Aesthetics located in Reston, VA

Though high blood pressure is a common condition, it can have serious, long-term effects on your health. Dr. Bijal Katarki of Dominion Family Healthcare in Reston, Virginia is your partner when it comes to management and reversal of a hypertension condition. Request an appointment online, or call the office today to schedule a consultation.

High Blood Pressure Q & A

What is hypertension?

High blood pressure is known medically as hypertension. It describes a chronic condition in which the blood flowing through your body presses on artery walls with enough force to cause damage, resulting in health conditions including heart disease. Blood pressure rarely shows any signs or symptoms as it develops, and you could have hypertension for years without knowing. By the time symptoms present, it’s likely that damage is already severe.

A blood pressure test is simple and easy, one of the “vital signs” that most healthcare providers perform under nearly any circumstance, from emergency treatment to primary care well visits. Many pharmacies have free-to-use blood pressure monitors, and home testing units are affordable. Prevention is much easier than treatment, so being aware of your blood pressure is important throughout your life.

What causes high blood pressure?

There are two types of high blood pressure, distinguished by cause. Primary hypertension develops gradually, and there’s often no single, identifiable cause. Various risk factors may contribute, but this type of high blood pressure seems more like a symptom of aging. Generally, it produces lower readings than the other type, secondary hypertension.

Certain conditions can cause secondary hypertension, which usually has a more sudden onset than its primary cousin, and often produces higher blood pressure readings as well. Conditions known to cause secondary hypertension include:

  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Congenital birth defects
  • Illegal drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine
  • Kidney issues
  • Medications, including birth control pills, decongestants, and some prescription drugs
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Thyroid problems

Risk factors that play a role in both types of hypertension include:

  • Alcohol use
  • Age
  • Carrying extra weight
  • Family history
  • Pregnancy
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Too much salt and/or too little potassium in your diet
  • Tobacco use

How is high blood pressure treated?

If you’re in the early stages of primary hypertension, moderate changes to your lifestyle could result in dramatic improvements in your blood pressure. Typical measures include limiting the amount of alcohol and sodium you consume, eating a diet that’s heart-healthy, increasing your amount of physical activity, and losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight.

If these measures can’t control your blood pressure within an acceptable range, a wide range of prescription medications may work with your condition. These drugs have side effects, and some may be more effective for you than others. Working with Dr. Katarki to manage your blood pressure is your best solution for continued good health.