What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure — also called hypertension — occurs when your blood puts too much force against the inside walls of your blood vessels. Healthy blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg or lower, which represents the force of your blood when your heart beats (systolic pressure) and when it rests between beats (diastolic pressure).
A blood pressure reading higher than 120/80 mm Hg is elevated, and the higher the reading, the more severe your condition and your risk of heart disease.
What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced in your liver that helps your body build new cells. Your body produces all the cholesterol it needs, but the standard American diet is rich in fatty foods that increase your cholesterol levels.
When your cholesterol levels are too high, the excess substance builds up and forms a plaque on the insides of your arteries. This can contribute to a variety of cardiovascular health problems.
How are high blood pressure and cholesterol diagnosed?
High blood pressure and cholesterol don’t usually cause any symptoms, especially in their early stages. Having blood pressure screenings and comprehensive blood tests, including lipid panels, is the best way to monitor these critical health indicators.
If you have elevated blood pressure or cholesterol levels at a standard screening or if your test results show an upward trend, your ECCA physician may order additional testing or create a customized treatment plan to improve your health.
How are high blood pressure and cholesterol treated?
While your family medical history and genetics contribute to your risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol, many of the risk factors are under your control. As a result, the first course of action to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol are lifestyle adjustments.
For example, your physician may prescribe dietary changes to reduce the fat, salt, and sugar in your diet and recommend that you add at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity to your daily routine.
However, when lifestyle adjustments aren’t enough, your physician may prescribe medication such as beta-blockers, diuretics, and ACE inhibitors to lower your blood pressure and statins, bile-acid-binding resins, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors for high cholesterol.
If you’re concerned about high blood pressure and cholesterol, call ECCA or make an appointment online today.