ALLY MEDICAL EMERGENCY ROOM SPONSORED CONTENT — High blood pressure is a deadly condition that affects roughly a third of Texans. It’s known as “the silent killer” because it puts people at significantly higher risk of serious health issues, such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. However, high blood pressure has few outward symptoms, so many people are unaware they have it until a serious medical issue occurs.

High blood pressure can cause many health issues over time, mainly affecting the heart, brain, and kidneys. This condition can cause chest pain, kidney damage, vision problems, and raises your risk for peripheral artery disease. Additionally, high blood pressure can increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.

High blood pressure develops over time and can be hereditary or caused by health conditions or lifestyle. People who do not have high blood pressure can maintain their current blood pressure by eating a healthy diet, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, managing stress, and getting enough sleep.

“There are many factors that cause high blood pressure that can be controlled to lower your risk,” said Dr. Jeremy Kenter, Chief Medical Officer at Ally Medical Emergency Room. “Keeping a generally healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent high blood pressure.”

Regular visits with a healthcare provider can monitor blood pressure over time and look for patterns of high blood pressure. It is generally diagnosed when blood pressure is recorded over time at either 140/90 or 130/80 mmHg or higher.

“A person’s blood pressure will normally fluctuate throughout the day as it responds to many different factors,” Dr. Kenter said. “However, if your blood pressure is consistently high, your doctor is likely to diagnose you with high blood pressure.”

If diagnosed with high blood pressure, there are several steps you can take to manage the condition. Your doctor will help create a plan of treatment usually consisting of lifestyle changes and medication. You and your doctor will also keep a close eye on your blood pressure over time to make sure your medications and other changes are working.

Dr. Kenter added that “patients diagnosed with high blood pressure should take their doctor’s treatment plan seriously. Keeping your blood pressure under control can make a big difference in your overall health and lower your risk of serious complications.”

It’s important that everyone with high blood pressure closely monitor abnormal symptoms as they could be indicators of a serious medical complication. If you have blurry vision, dizziness, lightheadedness, severe headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain, or pain that spreads from the shoulder, arm, or jaw, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. Use your judgement of the situation or contact your primary care physician for guidance and seek out emergency medical care at your nearest ER if necessary.