Making sure that your blood pressure stays within a healthy range is essential for optimal overall health. While high blood pressure seldom causes noticeable symptoms, it can damage your blood vessels and lead to serious conditions, such as kidney disease, stroke, and heart attack.
For these reasons, high blood pressure is often called a “silent killer.” Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to lower these risks, including having your blood pressure checked.
Our highly qualified team of experts at Arundel Medical Group, Inc. in Glen Burnie, Maryland, accepts walk-in and scheduled appointments for your general medicine and chronic healthcare needs, including high blood pressure management and tests. Read on to learn about these tests and when you may want to consider one.
Blood pressure test basics
A blood pressure test calculates the amount of pressure in your arteries as blood flows through. During the painless test, a cuff is placed around one of your upper arms. The mild sense of pressure you’ll feel during the test only lasts for a few seconds. Meanwhile, a stethoscope is used to assess your pulse.
Your results will show two numbers, representing the amount of systolic pressure, or when our heart pushes out blood, and diastolic, or the amount of pressure while your heart rests in between beats. If your top number (systolic) is less than 120 and the bottom number (diastolic) is less than 80, your blood pressure is considered normal.
When to have your blood pressure checked
If you’re 40 or older or have risk factors for high blood pressure, you should have your blood pressure checked once per year. These tests are performed routinely during annual physicals. If you’re under age 40 and don’t have such risk factors, aim for blood pressure checks every 3-5 years.
If you have risk factors or have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, our team may recommend more frequent tests as well as home monitoring.
Factors that raise your risk include:
- Being African American
- Carrying excess weight
- Unhealthy diet
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Having a chronic condition, such as diabetes, kidney failure, or heart disease
- Leading an inactive lifestyle
Managing high blood pressure
If you find out that you have high blood pressure or are moving in that direction, the following steps can help improve your blood pressure levels and overall health:
- Eating a nutritious diet
- Improving your exercise habits
- Managing stress
- Prioritizing sufficient, restful sleep
- Scheduling those routine blood pressure tests
- Taking any prescription blood pressure medication, as directed by our team
Your provider at Arundel Medical Group, Inc. can help you formulate an effective plan for keeping your blood pressure in a healthy place.
To learn more or get the care you need, call our office or request an appointment on our website.