Hypertension Specialist

Firas Zakaria, MD

Board-Certified Internist located in Palos Heights, IL

Even if you don’t notice any symptoms, untreated high blood pressure (hypertension) may be causing significant damage to your arteries and heart. Dr. Firas Zakaria is a well-respected internal medicine specialist in Palos Heights, Illinois, who can help you manage your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy in the process. Call Dr. Zakaria’s office today for an appointment or take advantage of his convenient online scheduling service.

Hypertension Q & A

Why is Blood Pressure So Important?

Blood pressure measures the force your blood exerts on artery walls as it moves through your body. It’s normally calculated with two numbers: the upper number is your systolic pressure, or the force created when your heart beats; the lower number, the diastolic, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart is resting between beats.

The excessive pressure associated with hypertension can damage your blood vessels and the organs in your body. The longer blood pressure goes uncontrolled, the greater the risk of complications. Unfortunately, hypertension typically causes few symptoms until organ damage occurs.

What are the Complications Associated with Hypertension?

Serious health concerns caused by untreated hypertension include:

  • Hardening or thickening of arteries, which can lead to heart attack or stroke
  • Heart failure due to thickening and weakening of your heart as it pumps harder to overcome the higher pressure in your veins
  • Kidney damage due to weak or damaged blood vessels
  • Vision loss due to damaged blood vessels in your eyes

Uncontrolled hypertension can also cause mental confusion and impair your memory or ability to learn. It can also lead to an aneurysm.

What Causes Hypertension?

The most common form of hypertension is known as primary or essential hypertension. This type of hypertension tends to develop gradually over time, and doctors don’t often find a reason for it.  

There are certain factors, however, that appear to increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, including:  

  • Age
  • Family history of hypertension
  • Certain chronic conditions such as diabetes and sleep apnea
  • Lifestyle factors such as improper diet, smoking, and physical inactivity
  • Excess weight or obesity

Stress can also temporarily increase blood pressure and may affect it long-term if your stress levels remain high. Stress can also cause you to smoke, eat, or drink more. All of these activities can raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels.   

What is the Treatment for Hypertension?

Dr. Zakaria takes a comprehensive approach to treating elevated blood pressure. If he notes that you have borderline levels, he may suggest lifestyle changes that reduce your risk of developing hypertension as well as home blood pressure checks to track your levels closely.

If he diagnoses hypertension, Dr. Zakaria typically prescribes medication to bring your blood pressure down and recommends lifestyle changes that help prevent permanent damage.