Hypertension (or High Blood Pressure) is a condition where the flow of blood through the blood vessels is consistently too high. A blood pressure reading can determine the rate at which the blood is being pushed throughout the body. When blood pressure is too high, extra strain is put on the heart, and the friction along the walls of the blood vessels can become damaged. Damaged blood vessels are prime locations for cholesterol to build up and start forming plaques. As plaque increases, the blood vessels narrow and become more rigid. This can lead to heart attack and stroke.


Hypertension is often called a "Silent Killer" as there often are no symptoms warning you that your blood pressure is too high. If you do have symptoms, they may include severe headaches, fatigue or confusion, vision problems, chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat and blood in the urine.


Your blood pressure can easily be measured at your Esse Health doctor’s office. There are also electric blood pressure monitors available that allow you to check your blood pressure at home. Your blood pressure reading is represented as a fraction with the top number (systolic blood pressure) the measure of the pressure your blood is exerting on the artery walls during a heartbeat. The bottom number (diastolic blood pressure) represents the pressure on the artery walls when your heart is at rest.


In its earliest stages, your blood pressure can be controlled without medication. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, reducing the amount of sodium in the diet, being physically active and limiting alcohol intake can all help keep your blood pressure in check. If your blood pressure continues to rise, your Esse Health doctor may prescribe Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), diuretics, beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers to help lower the pressure. Your Esse Health doctor will go over all the treatment options with you and chose the best option based on your condition.