Monitoring Your Blood Pressure
- Posted on: Nov 17 2022
If there may not be any symptoms how will I know if my blood pressure is too high?
We usually associate silence with the lack of sound. Sometimes that’s a wonderful thing, like what we experience while meditating or taking a walk during a snowfall. Other times, silence can mean that something is happening that we are not aware of. Images that come to mind in those cases might include movie scenes about a silent stalker or, perhaps, the absence of sound associated with a deadly leak of carbon monoxide.
When it comes to health issues, pairing “silent” with “killer” is about as serious a description as you can imagine, but that is exactly the term often used to describe how dangerous high blood pressure can be. Most people know that being diagnosed with high blood pressure, or hypertension, is not something to take lightly, because it can lead to significant health conditions, like heart failure, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Not everyone, however, is aware of how often people can have this condition and not know it.
A staggeringly high number of American adults have high blood pressure, approximately 1 in 3, but only around half of them have taken steps to control it. More often than not, this is because they are unaware of having a problem. Many falsely believe there are symptoms that would alert them, like feeling lightheaded or flushed. This is a dangerous misconception, effectively put into perspective by this quote from the American Heart Association website:
“If you are looking for a list of symptoms and signs of high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension), you won’t find them here. This is because most of the time, there are none.
High blood pressure is a largely symptomless “silent killer.” If you ignore your blood pressure because you think a certain symptom or sign will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life.”
Link Between High Blood Pressure and COVID-19
There is a lot that is still being learned about COVID-19. An area of particular concern appears to be the increased risk for those with high blood pressure to become infected with the virus and to also develop more serious complications. Research on this is ongoing, but the possibility alone makes controlling blood pressure even more important. Unfortunately, the pandemic has made monitoring and controlling issues like blood pressure more difficult for a lot of people.
Humans are an amazingly adaptive species and the healthcare profession further proved that by its herculean efforts to provide care virtually. Even better, most patients not only adapted quickly but discovered that they really like this type of access. There are adjustments to be made and issues to address, especially with underserved populations who may not have adequate access to internet connections or required technology, but some sort of hybrid system that incorporates virtual and in-person healthcare is here to stay.
That is the silver lining, so to speak, of the pandemic. The flip side is that a lot of people just stopped accessing non-emergency healthcare during the pandemic. They couldn’t go to their regular appointments and many just focused on avoiding COVID and ignored or put off other concerns. Blood pressure monitoring and control measures too often fell in that category. Those who did seek healthcare via telehealth appoints, especially during the earlier months of the pandemic, were able to have their blood pressure assessed only about 10 percent of the time. This lapse is a serious concern.
Innovation and technology are closing the gap and making the virtual monitoring of blood pressure increasingly available and effective. But for now, it is important that everyone make the effort to have their blood pressure checked by their physician and then follow whatever advice may be given for monitoring and control.
At Cardiovascular Wellness, our mission is to provide outstanding, timely, and personalized care to all of our patients. We are committed to improving your quality of life by designing a comprehensive plan of heart care, individualized to your needs.
Information on locations and office hours for Cardiovascular Wellness can be found by clicking here.
Posted in: High Blood Pressure