High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Prevention
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a primary risk factor that increases your risk for stroke, heart attack, coronary artery disease and more. That’s why patients all over northeast Ohio come to University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute for specialized hypertension services. Our team of heart specialists collaborate to diagnose the cause of your hypertension and develop an effective hypertension treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.
Hypertension symptoms are not visible. It occurs when your heart works harder than normal to pump blood to your organs. If untreated, it can severely damage your heart, brain, kidneys and arteries.
Identifying Hypertension Risk Factors
A variety of risk factors can contribute to hypertension which includes:
- Age: Hypertension risk increases around age 45.
- Alcohol use: Two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women can increase hypertension risk.
- Family history: This condition may run in families.
- Race: Studies have shown that African Americans have a higher risk of developing hypertension than Caucasians.
- Sedentary lifestyle: If you lead an inactive lifestyle, your chances of hypertension are higher than someone who engages in regular physical activity.
- Sodium diet: A diet full of sodium increases fluid retention which can raise your blood pressure levels.
- Smoking: Smoking cigarettes can temporarily increase your blood pressure levels and damage the lining of your artery walls.
- Stress: Stress, whether it’s temporary or chronic can lead to hypertension.
- Weight: Being overweight or obese forces your heart to work harder and therefore raises your risk of hypertension.
If you have any risk factors for hypertension, we recommend making an appointment with your primary care physician immediately. With elevated blood pressure, you should then see a heart specialist. At University Hospitals, we perform blood and imaging tests and help you understand your risk and how your current blood pressure levels are affecting your health. We’ll teach you how small lifestyle changes can make a big impact on hypertension and your overall heart health. We’ll also encourage you as you make these changes to treat and manage your hypertension.
Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation
Our cardiac prevention and rehabilitation program will provide you with the expertise and support you need to make lifestyle changes that will reduce your blood pressure and improve your overall health. Additionally, we offer nutrition and weight loss counseling, stress management guidance and smoking cessation programs.
If you enroll in our program, you can learn how to:
- Adhere to a heart healthy diet that is low-fat and full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce salt intake
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Quit smoking
In addition to lifestyle changes to help you manage your blood pressure, we may prescribe medications such as diuretics, beta-blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and calcium channel blockers (CCBs).
Hypertension-Specific Research and Clinical Trials
Our cardiovascular research team at University Hospitals is currently conducting focused research to determine the molecular basis for factors leading to hypertension and the evaluation of anti-hypertensive agents on patients. We are conducting research on receptor and signaling mechanisms in vasoactive hormones, hypertension in African Americans, anti-hypertensive and lipid-lowering heart attack prevention and the genetics of salt sensitivity.
For More Information about Hypertension
If you are at risk for heart disease, or specifically for high blood pressure, our team of heart specialists at University Hospitals can help. Contact one of our team members at our convenient locations across northeast Ohio.