On Hypertension (High blood pressure)
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a medical condition in which the blood pressure is elevated. Blood pressure is measured using a standard blood pressure cuff, usually in the upper arm and usually while seated comfortably. A large percentage of the general population, approximately 25%, have hypertension. “Normal” blood pressure is considered to be a value of approximately 140/90 mm Hg or lower. The first number, 140 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) refers to the systolic blood pressure. The second number, 90 mm Hg, refers to the diastolic blood pressure.
Elevated blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular events such as stroke or heart attack. Although 140/90 mm Hg is considered normal, recent studies have shown that elevated blood pressure can result in an increased risk of cardiovascular events even at a systolic pressure above 115 mm/Hg. This means that in general the lower the blood pressure, the lower the risk of cardiovascular events.
How does one avoid high blood pressure?
You can maintain blood pressure within the normal range by maintaining body weight at a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or lower.
You can also maintain blood pressure within the normal range by exercising regularly and by following a low-salt diet.
Please see the section entitled How to Stay Healthy.
Dr. DeFabritus is an expert in the use of medications for hypertension when diet, weight loss and exercise have not been sufficient to lower blood pressure to goal. Goal blood pressure is 135/85 or less in patients with hypertension but without additional medical problems, and 130/80 or less in patients with diabetes or CKD. CKD especially requires knowledge of blood pressure medications and the effect that these can have on kidney function. Preventing the progression of CKD to ESRD (see section entitled On Nephrology) depends most on controlling blood pressure with medication (often more than one or even two medications) to blood pressure of 130/80 mm Hg or less.