Because high blood pressure doesn’t usually cause symptoms, it’s often referred to as a silent killer. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke, but thankfully, high blood pressure is easily detected with a sphygmomanometer.
Once high blood pressure is confirmed, it’s essential to safely lower your blood pressure levels, and that’s just what Dr. Henock Saint-Jaques and his experienced team of cardiologists do here at Harlem Cardiology in East Harlem, New York. Whether you need medication, lifestyle changes, or a combination of both, it’s our goal to help you normalize your blood pressure levels.
As part of your treatment plan, you may need to identify some of the causes of your high blood pressure so you can make the appropriate changes. Continue reading to learn more about the potential causes of your high blood pressure.
What’s causing your high blood pressure?
There are many risk factors for hypertension, or high blood pressure. Some risk factors you can avoid, while others are unavoidable.
Risk factors within your control include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Alcohol consumption (more than 1-2 drinks per day)
- Chronic, unmanaged stress
- Being overweight or obese
- Diets high in sodium
Risk factors that you can’t control include:
- Older age
- Family history of hypertension
- Underlying diseases, such as chronic kidney disease and thyroid disorders
- Untreated sleep apnea
Identifying all of your risk factors can help you identify which lifestyle factors may be most beneficial to you. For example, if your diet is high in processed foods or sodium-rich foods, you may consider exploring the DASH diet. DASH 一 which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension 一 focuses on dietary choices that support healthy blood pressure levels. This includes reducing salt intake, minimizing saturated fat consumption, and eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains. On the other hand, if an underlying medication condition, like untreated sleep apnea, is steadily raising your blood pressure, you may find it necessary to manage that condition too.
You may also find that you have several risk factors identified on this list. In this case, working to lower your blood pressure from multiple angles may be needed. Exercising can help you manage stress, lose weight, and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
Other lifestyle changes to aid in blood pressure management include regular exercise, smoking cessation, and stress management practices (like yoga or listening to calming music).
What if my risk factors are unavoidable?
What if genetics is contributing to your high blood pressure? Even though you can’t change some of your risk factors, it’s still good to identify them as potential causes for hypertension.
At Harlem Cardiology, Dr. Saint-Jacques is pleased to offer comprehensive cardiac care, and that includes high blood pressure management. He can help you pinpoint the possible causes of your high blood pressure and recommend the appropriate modifications for you.
If adopting lifestyle modifications isn’t enough to lower your levels, you may benefit from medication. There are many different types of medication, and they all work to lower your blood pressure in different ways. Diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers are just a few examples of medications used to treat hypertension. Dr. Saint-Jacques reviews your health history before exploring potential options with you. In some cases, medication may only be needed until your lifestyle changes (like diet or exercise) start to take effect.
Don’t let high blood pressure remain untreated. Learn more about your options and make an appointment at Harlem Cardiology today. You can reach our Madison Avenue location at 646-381-2181. Don’t forget: you can request an appointment online 24/7.