• What you need to understand about your blood pressure

    Each time you visit the hospital, the doctor or nurse will check your blood pressure. Recording your blood pressure at each medical appointment allows your doctor to evaluate the changes in your blood pressure over time. It’s normal for blood pressure to fluctuate slightly throughout the day, but substantial changes can be cause for concern. If you have any questions about your cardiovascular health, the providers at West Hills Hospital are here to help.

    Blood pressure basics

    Your blood pressure is the force exerted against the blood vessel walls as blood flows through them. Be a proactive patient, and ask your healthcare provider if your blood pressure readings are within the normal range.

    • Normal: Less than 120 over 80
    • Elevated: 120 to 129 over less than 80
    • Stage one hypertension: 130 to 139 over 80 to 89
    • Stage two hypertension: 140 or higher over 90 or higher

    If your blood pressure isn’t ideal, your doctor can help you learn how to manage it.

    Blood pressure fluctuations

    When you watch the accompanying video, you’ll hear an internal medicine specialist at West Hills Hospital discuss the risks of significant fluctuations in blood pressure. Irregular blood pressure can be difficult to diagnose, since you may have periods of normal blood pressure, followed by wild fluctuations.

    Unfortunately, irregular blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels. When the blood pressure drops, blood clots are more likely to form. This increases the risk of stroke.

    Chronic high blood pressure

    Chronic high blood pressure, without major fluctuations, is also dangerous for your health. When it’s left untreated, it can cause damage to your blood vessels and heart. Since hypertension doesn’t have symptoms, you won’t know that you have it unless you see your doctor.

    Over time, chronic high blood pressure can increase the risk of:

    • Stroke
    • Heart attack
    • Aneurysm
    • Heart failure
    • Vision loss
    • Kidney problems

    The good news is that you can successfully manage your blood pressure with help from your doctor.

    West Hills Regional Heart & Vascular Institute is among the top 10 percent of hospitals in the U.S. regarding response times for heart attack patients. Please call 911 right away if you need emergency care for a possible cardiovascular event. Or, to request a physician referral, you can call West Hills Hospital at (818) 676-4321.