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The most significant way that high blood pressure or hypertension causes damage is by raising the load on the heart and blood vessels—making them work harder and less efficiently.
Over time, the force and friction of high blood pressure harms the delicate tissues inside the arteries, eventually shrinking the arteries, making the heart struggle to circulate blood. This can lead to other conditions that range from arrhythmia to stroke and heart attack.
“Hypertension is a known risk factor for heart attacks and stroke,” according to Matthew Sorrentino, MD, a Chicago cardiologist and one of the medical experts at Teladoc. “The absolute risk for a heart attack or stroke will be dependent on the age of the patient, how long hypertension has been present and the degree of elevation of blood pressure,” he added.
Usually, hypertension is defined as blood pressure above 130/80 and is considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120.
Symptoms can include:
- Severe headache
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
While there is no cure for hypertension, lifestyle and medication are the keys to making it more manageable. Eating a healthier diet with less salt, exercising regularly and taking medications can help lower blood pressure.
Kansas Farm Bureau Health Plans offers the Teladoc benefit that can help you get the right advice to ensure you’re getting treated correctly for hypertension.