High Blood Pressure

The heart and vascular specialists at Wake Forest Baptist Health help manage your blood pressure through their dedication to preventing and managing cardiovascular disease. We can help you understand risk factors and show you how to maintain healthy blood pressure with healthy lifestyle changes. 

What is High Blood Pressure? 

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can lead to serious problems including: 

Your blood pressure reading measures two numbers, when your heart beats and when it is at rest. A reading of: 

  • 119/79 or lower is normal blood pressure 
  • 140/90 or higher is high blood pressure 

Between normal and high blood pressure is prehypertension, which is 120 to 139 for the top number or 80 to 89 for the bottom number. Prehypertension means that you may develop high blood pressure, but you can prevent it with healthy lifestyle changes. 

Risk Factors and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure 

Certain qualities, conditions or habits can make you more likely to develop high blood pressure, including: 

  • Overweight or obesity 
  • Smoking 
  • Lack of exercise 
  • Too much salt in your diet 
  • Not enough potassium in your diet 
  • Drinking too much alcohol 
  • Stress 
  • Ethnic background: high blood pressure is more common in African-Americans 
  • Family history of high blood pressure 

You can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it, because it usually has no signs or symptoms. Rarely, symptoms occur only in people in hypertensive crisis (extremely high blood pressure of higher than 180/110). These symptoms include: 

  • Severe headache 
  • Fatigue or confusion 
  • Vision problems 
  • Chest pain 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Blood in the urine 
  • Pounding in your chest, neck or ears 

The best way to find out whether you have high blood pressure is to have it checked at least every two years, starting at age 18, as part of your routine checkup. 

Diagnosing High Blood Pressure 

Your physician may detect your high blood pressure during your regular checkups. At Wake Forest Baptist, we perform further testing to find the causes of your high blood pressure and to check for possible organ damage. Among the tests your physician may recommend are: 

Learn more about heart and vascular diagnosis at Wake Forest. 

Managing High Blood Pressure at Wake Forest 

The best way to control your blood pressure is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. We will work with you to get you on the right track with a plan of action to keep you healthy. We may recommend: 

  • Medications 
  • Regular exercise 
  • Healthy diet 
  • Quitting smoking 
  • Limiting alcohol 
  • Reducing sodium in your diet 
  • Lowering stress 

Read more about our heart health resources. 

Contact Us 

Request an appointment online. Or, for more information, please call: 

  • 336-716-WAKE or 
  • 888-716-WAKE (toll-free) 

 

Quick Reference

Heart & Vascular Center
New Patients

Local 336-716-WAKE
Toll-free 888-716-WAKE

Returning Patients

Vascular 336-716-4151
Heart 336-716-6674

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Last Updated: 05-27-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.