When your heart beats, it pumps blood through your arteries to the rest of your body. The blood flow puts pressure on the walls of your arteries. This is called blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is higher than normal, it’s called hypertension. Many different things can cause it. And if it gets too high or stays high for a long time, it can lead to health problems. Uncontrolled high blood pressure makes you more likely to have a stroke, heart disease, heart attack, or kidney failure.

In this post, your trusted family medicine doctor from Family Medicine and Wellness shares vital information about high blood pressure:

2 Types of High Blood Pressure

Primary Hypertension

This type of high blood pressure has no cause other than the blood vessels of your body constricting and narrowing. You don’t have any of the health conditions that make you more likely to develop high blood pressure, like diabetes or kidney disease.

Secondary Hypertension

Secondary high blood pressure is caused by other conditions, like kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or pregnancy. If you have this type of high blood pressure, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

Most people don’t have any symptoms, or they don’t think the symptoms are caused by their high blood pressure. For example, you may think a headache is caused by stress at work or a sinus infection. But it is crucial to have your blood pressure checked because even if you don’t have any symptoms, high blood pressure can still cause health problems.

Symptoms that may be caused by high blood pressure include:

  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sleeplessness
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Swelling in the feet or ankles

Causes of High Blood Pressure

The causes of high blood pressure are not fully understood, but it’s known that the leading causes are:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Family history
  • Certain medications
  • High sodium diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

How High Blood Pressure Is Diagnosed

If you have symptoms of high blood pressure, your doctor will start by checking your blood pressure. If it’s high, they may do other things like:

  • Blood tests to check for kidney problems or thyroid disease
  • An electrocardiogram to check your heart’s rhythms
  • A 24-hour urine test to check for excess protein or unusual amounts of waste products

Treatment Options

If your blood pressure is mildly high, lifestyle changes that your doctor recommends may help to lower it. Lifestyle changes you can make to lower high blood pressure include:

  • Lose weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Dress warmly
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Exercise

If your blood pressure is more elevated, your doctor may recommend medications, lifestyle changes, and other treatment options.


Medications are prescribed based on your unique situation. There are many different kinds of medications for high blood pressure. They may be used together or separately.

If you have high blood pressure, your doctor will probably prescribe medication. All medications have side effects, so discuss the potential side effects with your doctor before taking a medication.

Possible side effects of blood pressure medications include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Impotence


High blood pressure is a serious health problem that can lead to heart disease and stroke. If you have high blood pressure, you can make lifestyle changes to lower it, such as losing weight and eating healthier. If your blood pressure is still high, your family medicine doctor may prescribe medications. If you have high blood pressure, it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor about your exercise and nutrition routines so that you can lower your blood pressure to a healthy level.

If you need to be checked by a family medicine doctor in Troy, Family Medicine and Wellness is here for you. We can help determine whether or not you have high blood pressure through our medical wellness exams. Schedule an appointment with our doctor today!