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High Blood Pressure

Expertise in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypertension

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a very common medical condition, affecting almost half of all adults in the United States. Often called the “silent killer,” hypertension puts you at increased risk for heart attack, heart failure and stroke and rarely has any symptoms unless it is very high for a prolonged amount of time. When symptoms do present, damage to the heart and blood vessels may have already occurred. That is why it is very important to have your blood pressure checked regularly by a medical professional.

Your health is important. Get expert care.

If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, the heart specialists at University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute offer the most advanced treatments to bring it under control. Call 216-844-3800 for an appointment.

What is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the artery walls. Each time the heart beats (contracts), pressure is created inside the arteries. Between heartbeats, the vessels relax and the pressure falls. If the arteries are too narrow or their walls are too rigid (arteriosclerosis), this creates increased resistance to the flow of blood and the heart has to pump harder and more frequently to keep the blood flowing. If this increased workload continues and becomes chronic, hypertension may be diagnosed.

Treatments for High Blood Pressure

Once diagnosed, your healthcare provider will make recommendations for treatment that will depend on the severity of your hypertension. If your blood pressure is classified as “elevated” or “Stage 1,” lifestyle changes may be all that is needed to bring your numbers down. These may include:

  • Switching to a heart healthy, low-fat, low-salt diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Exercising on a regular basis (check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program)
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Reducing or eliminating alcohol and/or caffeine
  • Quitting smoking

If lifestyle changes alone do not effectively manage your blood pressure, our heart and vascular specialists will collaborate to determine the cause(s) of your hypertension and develop a comprehensive treatment plan, which may include one or more medications in addition to the lifestyle changes listed above.

The most common medications that may be prescribed to manage hypertension are listed below, along with a brief explanation of how they work:

Participation in Clinical Trials

The cardiovascular research team at University Hospitals is involved in ongoing research into the mechanisms of hypertension and how to best manage it. For some patients, participation in a clinical trial may be offered as part of their total treatment plan.

Additional Resources to Promote Healthy Blood Pressure

In addition to providing you with the expertise and support you need to make the recommended lifestyle changes to improve blood pressure, our specialists may also refer you to programs that provide education and resources related to good nutrition, weight loss, stress management and smoking cessation.

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