Could You Have High Blood Pressure and Not Know It?

Jun 07, 2023
Could You Have High Blood Pressure and Not Know It?
High blood pressure can cause some serious health problems. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t have any obvious symptoms until something of consequence happens. Read on to learn more.

Pop quiz: What medical condition is often called the “silent killer”? 

Hint: Research shows that About 75 million Americans have this condition, almost half don’t have it under control, and 11 million don’t even know they have it.

If you answered “high blood pressure,” you’re correct. Unfortunately, you could have this condition and be unaware of it, because it often doesn’t have obvious signs until something of consequence occurs.

In this blog, Pamela Phillips, Ph.D., FNP-C, and her team at Phillips Family Medical in DeSoto, Texas, explain what high blood pressure is, why it’s dangerous, and how it can be treated.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries is too high. This means your heart is working too hard to pump blood throughout your body.

When you get a blood pressure reading, there are two numbers. The first number measures the force of pressure on the walls of your arteries as your heart beats. The second number measures the force on the walls of your arteries between beats.

A normal blood pressure is 119/79 or less. Your blood pressure is considered elevated if the first number is 120-129 and the second number 79 or less. You're considered to have Stage 1 hypertension if the first number is 130-139 and the second number is 80-89. You’re considered to have Stage 2 hypertension if the first number is 140 or higher and the second number is 90 or higher.

Why is high blood pressure dangerous?

High blood pressure usually doesn’t present any obvious symptoms until a significant event occurs, so it’s entirely possible to have high blood pressure without knowing it. This can be a dangerous situation, because high blood pressure can lead to major health issues, including:

Heart attack

This can occur because the arteries can become damaged and blocked.

Heart failure

Because of the increased workload, the heart can become enlarged and begin to fail.


The blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the brain can become blocked.

Kidney disease

The arteries around the kidneys can become damaged, which can affect the kidneys’ ability to filter blood.

Vision loss

Blood vessels in the eyes can become damaged, which could affect your vision.

Sexual dysfunction

High blood pressure can cause erectile dysfunction in men and low libido in women.

How can you treat high blood pressure?

There’s only one way to determine if you have high blood pressure: Have a medical professional take blood pressure readings regularly. If you do have high blood pressure, you can often lower it through lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet with less salt, getting regular physical activity, losing weight, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and getting plenty of sleep.

If your high blood pressure persists, your doctor can prescribe various medications to help keep it under control.

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, or if you’re concerned you may have it, the caring team at Phillips Family Medical is ready to help. To learn more, call 972-709-3415 or book an appointment online today.