An estimated 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, which means they have a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Toni Harrison, MD, ABAARM, FAARM, offers blood pressure screening, as well as advanced diagnostic testing to thoroughly evaluate your cardiovascular health, and customized treatment to bring your blood pressure back to normal. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Paradise Valley, Arizona, or use the online booking feature. We are happy to serve our patients in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Phoenix, AZ.

High Blood Pressure Q&A

How does high blood pressure affect my health?

Normal blood pressure occurs as the flow of blood pushes against blood vessel walls. Your blood pressure changes depending on the health of the vessel walls, the strength of your heartbeat, and the total amount of blood circulating through your body.

When high blood pressure goes untreated, it damages blood vessels and creates rough spots where cholesterol and other fats form plaque. Over time, areas of plaque harden, causing atherosclerosis.

Blood vessel damage and atherosclerosis lead to problems such as:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Aneurysms
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Kidney failure
  • Peripheral artery disease

When high blood pressure damages small blood vessels in your brain, it can also affect your memory.

What symptoms develop due to high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it doesn’t cause symptoms. In many cases, the first sign of a problem occurs when you have a serious event like a heart attack, or an artery becomes so clogged that it causes pain because tissues aren’t getting enough oxygen.

What causes high blood pressure?

High blood pressure may develop due to an underlying health condition such as obesity, a thyroid imbalance, and obstructive sleep apnea. However, most cases of high blood pressure develop over time due to lifestyle habits.

These factors increase your risk for developing high blood pressure:

  • Overweight
  • Lack of exercise
  • High-salt diet
  • Chronic stress
  • Cigarette smoker

When these risk factors are eliminated, most patients can prevent high blood pressure.

How is high blood pressure treated?

When Dr. Harrisons diagnoses high blood pressure, she orders blood and urine tests to assess your cardiovascular risk factors. Using in-depth testing performed at the Cleveland HeartLab®, she can obtain detailed information about biomarkers that show the overall health of your cardiovascular system and guide treatment decisions.

Your tests reveal information about:

  • Inflammation
  • Lipids and fatty acids
  • Insulin metabolism
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Thyroid function

Many patients can lower their blood pressure by changing their diet, losing weight, and getting more exercise. If you still have high blood pressure after dealing with lifestyle issues, you may need medication to bring the pressure back to normal.

To have your blood pressure checked or to get ongoing treatment for high blood pressure, call Incredible Health or book an appointment online.