Florence Family Medicine
Ryan Williams, DO
Family Medicine Physician located in Florence, SC
High blood pressure is common and serious. Most of the over 30 million Americans with high blood pressure are unaware they have it because there are no symptoms. Without treatment, high blood pressure can lead to stroke, kidney, and heart problems. Dr. Ryan Williams and the medical staff at Florence Family Medicine in Florence, South Carolina diagnose high blood pressure through the use of comprehensive testing and readings. Call or make an appointment online today for a thorough blood pressure check.
Hypertension/ Dyslipidemia Q & A
What is high blood pressure?
The force with which your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps is called blood pressure.
When Dr. Williams performs a reading, he looks at two numbers. The systolic pressure — the first number — is the force that’s exerted when your heart contracts and pumps your blood. The diastolic pressure — the second number — is the force exerted when your heart rests between contractions.
Also referred to as hypertension, high blood pressure occurs when your blood flows through your blood vessels with higher-than-usual force.
Ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80. When your blood pressure reads above 120/80 three times in one week, it’s time to discuss high blood pressure with Dr. Williams.
How is high blood pressure diagnosed?
To get a blood pressure reading, Dr. Williams’ nurses place a cuff on your upper arm and fill it with air. As the air fills the cuff, your artery gets squeezed, and a special measuring tool records the pressure as the air is released.
Because it doesn't cause any symptoms, high blood pressure is often referred to as “the silent killer.” The lack of symptoms is the main reason that less than half of those with high blood pressure have it under control.
What are the different types of high blood pressure?
There are three different types of high blood pressure:
- Resistant: Resistant high blood pressure affects up to 15% of those diagnosed and usually doesn’t respond to medication.
- White Coat: White Coat high blood pressure affects close to 30% of patients, only occurs in the doctor’s office, and often leads to misdiagnosis.
- Masked: Masked high blood pressure affects nearly 30% of those diagnosed. If your readings are normal in the doctor’s office, Dr. Williams has you wear a special cuff that takes a blood pressure reading every 15 minutes during the day, and every 30 minutes at night for 24 hours.
How is high blood pressure treated?
Once Dr. Williams diagnoses you with high blood pressure, he recommends various lifestyle changes.
As the first step in treating your high blood pressure, he advises you to change your diet and increase the amount of exercise you get. Limit your sodium intake and eat foods that are rich in potassium. It’s also important that you lower your weight, and quit smoking if you do.
If diet and exercise don't lower your blood pressure numbers enough, Dr. Williams prescribes medication. Because he’s a skilled diagnostician, you can trust that he only prescribes medications that you truly need.
To find out if you’re at risk for developing high blood pressure or if you already have it, call or make an appointment online today at Florence Family Medicine in Florence, South Carolina.