Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
There are two types of high blood pressure:
Primary (essential) hypertension: This type of high blood pressure tends to develop gradually over many years and occurs in most adults with no identifiable cause.
Secondary hypertension: This type of high blood pressure is caused by an underlying condition. Causing higher blood pressure readings than primary hypertension, it tends to appear suddenly and in conjunction with various conditions and medications, including:
• Thyroid problems
• Kidney problems
• Adrenal gland tumors
• Obstructive sleep apnea
• Certain defects you’re born with (congenital) in blood vessels
• Certain medications, like birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
• Illegal drugs, like cocaine and amphetamines
Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, and can continue that way for years. However, certain risk factors increase your chances of getting hypertension or exacerbating it, including advanced age, family history, sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, tobacco and excessive alcohol use, and high stress.
More complicated hypertension can be indicated by the following symptoms:
• Shortness of breath
• Blurred vision
• Nosebleeds (rare)
• Chest pain, or pounding sensation in the chest, neck or ears
Uncontrolled or undetected high blood pressure can lead to complications that will indicate the co-existence of hypertension. These include:
• Heart failure, heart attack or stroke
• Vision loss due to thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes
• Memory and cognition issue
Fortunately, even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues, so high blood pressure and can be easily detected, and once identified, monitored and controlled.
Facial Signs of High Blood Pressure
As a holistic and alternative medicine practitioner, Dr. Amos pays attention to her client’s face, looking for early signs of disease. For high blood pressure, one of the key warning signs is developing a flushed face. Another possible indicator is the presence of blood spots in the eyes.
Testing and Treatment
Testing for hypertension involves a blood pressure reading along with a medical history and physical exam. Treatment typically involves lifestyle changes, weight control and a nutrition plan can help control your blood pressure. More serious cases may require prescription medication. Long-term treatment requires identifying and treating the cause(s) of the high blood pressure.
At our clinic, our holistic and Functional Medicine approaches seeks to address these root causes as well as bring the body back into balance naturally through nutritional counseling and herbal supplements, as well as with whole-body wellness recommendations. We focus on stabilizing the systems in your body that have been affected, and educating you on prevention, while using complimentary and alternative protocols for testing and to develop a treatment plan tailored to our patients’ individual needs and long-term optimal health. They include:
• Electro Dermal Screening