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Controlling High Blood Pressure

If you live with high blood pressure, or hypertension, the blood in your body creates excessive pressure on your blood vessels. Your high blood pressure puts you at risk for coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and other problems. At UNC Medical Center’s Hypertension Clinic, you’ll find help to get your blood pressure under control before those problems strike.

Risks for High Blood Pressure

Risk factors that may contribute to developing high blood pressure include:

  • Family history – High blood pressure can run in families; parents or close relatives with the condition make you more likely to develop it
  • Age – Risks for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease increase with age
  • Gender – High blood pressure is more common in men up to age 45; women are more likely than men to develop high blood pressure after 65
  • Lack of physical activity – Physical activity aids your heart and circulatory system and helps you control blood pressure and manage weight
  • Poor diet, especially one including too much salt – Diets with too much fat, sugar, salt and calories contribute to poor health and obesity; salt keeps excess fluid in the body, which raises blood pressure
  • Overweight and obesity – Excess weight increases the strain on the heart and the likelihood of developing other conditions that contribute to high blood pressure
  • Drinking too much alcohol – Heavy and regular use of alcohol can increase blood pressure dramatically, contribute to high triglycerides and cause heart failure; if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation

High Blood Pressure Symptoms

You may have high blood pressure and not know it. That’s because, for many people, high blood pressure causes no symptoms. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure regularly and learn your numbers.

Diagnosis

You’ll benefit from the UNC Medical Center cardiology experts who specialize in diagnosing and treating hypertension. We use all the resources of our heart and vascular center to evaluate your health and cardiac risk factors, including secondary causes that you may not know exist.

A UNC Medical Center cardiologist may order diagnostic testing such as:

  • Lab tests
  • Blood pressure monitoring – With your doctor’s instructions, you’ll measure and record your blood pressure readings or go to an outpatient center for readings; the record helps your doctor determine if you have high blood pressure
  • Cardiac imaging tests, such as:
    • Ultrasound
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
    • Computed tomography (CT) scan

High Blood Pressure Treatment

Get help from UNC Medical Center’s Hypertension Clinic to keep your high blood pressure at healthy levels with a personalized treatment plan. Lowering your blood pressure may require you to modify your risk factors through:

  • Lifestyle changes
    • Engaging in regular physical activity
    • Eating a better diet
    • Reducing salt intake
    • Maintaining a healthy weight
    • Lowering your stress
    • Avoiding tobacco products and tobacco smoke
    • Limiting alcohol
    • Medication management

Heart & Vascular Clinical Trials

Explore UNC clinical trials for heart and vascular conditions.

Contact Us

Call the Heart & Vascular Center referral line at 866-862-4327 to find specialists, make an appointment or learn more about preventing heart disease.

Open Access is a new physician referral service, created by the UNC Center for Heart & Vascular Care, which coordinates all admissions and transfers through a single phone call and guarantees immediate acceptance for patients. Please contact us to learn more or call 866-862-4327.

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