blood pressureWe want to welcome everyone to our newest health and wellness spotlight feature of the month blog for March. This month, we wanted to focus on a central tenet of long-term health and wellness: blood pressure. High blood pressure, known medically as “hypertension,” is an incredibly common source of health issues for adults in the US. That’s why our board-certified healthcare providers wanted to discuss the importance of managing blood pressure.

The higher that a person’s blood pressure is, the higher their chances of developing health issues will be. The flow of blood through a person’s body is critical for delivering essential nutrients and oxygen to every major organ including the brain and heart. Over time, blood vessels will adjust and become either narrow or wide in order to maintain a healthy blood flow. Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood that the heart pumps as well as the amount of resistance to blood flow in the arteries due to how narrow they are. If left untreated over time, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease (including heart attacks), strokes, and other serious health concerns.

There are two types of high blood pressure, primary (or essential) and secondary. Primary high blood pressure occurs naturally over time, without being triggered by any specific cause. This can be a hereditary condition passed down from a family member with a history of high blood pressure. Nearly 95% of high blood pressure cases in the US fall under this category. Secondary high blood pressure is the result of another underlying condition. This may include kidney disease, breathing issues including sleep apnea, issues with the thyroid or adrenal glands, or as a side effect of certain medications or recreational drugs.

Thankfully, there are steps that people can take to meaningfully decrease their blood pressure. While certain high blood pressure risk factors that are hereditary can’t be altered, making positive lifestyle changes can often make a considerable difference. Maintaining a healthy and stable body weight is essential. This includes exercising regularly and eating a diet that is low in salt and sodium. Prioritizing getting enough sleep each night can also lower a person’s blood pressure. Practicing healthy stress management techniques is incredibly beneficial. We also highly recommend avoiding smoking and other forms of nicotine.

Here at Family Practice Center, our primary care providers work with our patients to help establish customized treatment plans for those with high blood pressure and any related issues. This includes utilizing the new weight management clinic at our recently opened Cumming location, led by our newest provider Dr. Leah Macklin. For more information, contact Family Practice Center to schedule a blood pressure management appointment at one of our four Atlanta area locations (Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Canton, Cumming). You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for additional practice updates, health tips, news, and much more.