By: Dr. Cesar Mendoza

Your blood pressure measures the force of blood against your artery walls. High blood pressure (hypertension) can damage arteries and put you at risk for peripheral arterial disease (PAD).  PAD is a disease of arteries in the legs. Controlling your blood pressure will decrease your risk of heart attack or other hart diseases. High blood pressure can be controlled through exercise, weight loss, dietary changes and medication.

How can high blood pressure lead to PAD?
High blood pressure promotes plaque formation. Plaque is waxy material made up of cholesterol and other particles that can build up in artery walls. When there is too much plaque, your arteries can become narrowed and restrict blood flow. If high blood pressure isn’t controlled, this makes it more likely for you to develop PAD and other heart problems.

What happens if blood pressure isn’t controlled?

  • For every 20mmHg systolic (top number) or 10 mmHg diastolic (bottom number) increase in your blood pressure, your risk for death from heart disease or stroke doubles.
  • If you have diabetes or other powerful risk factors such as high cholesterol and smoking, uncontrolled high blood pressure will increase your risk for heart and peripheral arterial disease.

What happens if blood pressure is controlled?
Lowering your blood pressure and keeping it low can:

  • Reduce your risk of stroke
  • Reduce your risk of heart attack
  • Reduce your risk of dying of heart disease
  • Reduce your risk of diabetes complications

To make an appointment with a Jackson physician, please call 305-585-4JMG.

For more heart health articles during our Heart Month series, click here.

To read our Hearts of Jackson patient stories, click here.