High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) What is it? As blood travels throughout your body, it pushes against the walls of your blood vessels. This “push” is your blood pressure. If blood vessels narrow or your heart pumps more blood through them, blood pressure rises. High blood pressure, or hypertension, means blood pressure that is consistently above the normal range. High blood pressure can lead to several dangerous health conditions, including kidney disease, coronary artery disease and heart attack. What are the symptoms? For most people, there are no symptoms of high blood pressure. So it is important to have your blood pressure checked by your doctor periodically. Some people with high blood pressure may experience headaches or fatigue. How is it treated? Lifestyle modifications. One of the best ways to control high blood pressure is through changing some of your habits. URMC Cardiology can help you to quit smoking, begin an exercise program, lose weight, reduce stress and control diabetes—all effective ways to lower blood pressure. Medications. URMC Cardiology can help you to control high blood pressure through the use of one or more medications. ACE inhibitors prevent the formation a chemical that narrows blood vessels, helping to relax them and reduce blood pressure. ARBs relax your blood vessels by blocking a chemical that normally works to narrow your arteries and veins. Diuretics help your body to eliminate excess water, reducing blood volume and blood pressure. Beta blockers open your blood vessels and reduce the workload on your heart. Calcium channel blockers work by relaxing the muscles that are in your blood vessels. Rheos blood pressure device. For patients with high blood pressure that can’t be controlled with medications, we are able to offer the Rheos blood pressure device. This small implantable device, about the size of a pacemaker, helps to control blood pressure through electrical stimulation of the carotid arteries. What is URMC’s approach? URMC Cardiology is one of the few centers in the Northeast with a clinic that specializes in the treatment of high blood pressure. The URMC Hypertension Clinic provides patients with doctors who are highly experienced in the treatment of uncontrolled high blood pressure. URMC is one of only 10 centers in the world that uses the Rheos blood pressure device. We were the first center in the nation to implant the Rheos device in a patient with chronic hypertension. URMC Cardiology is involved in clinical studies to bring the most advanced treatments to our patients. As an academic medical center, we are committed to bringing you the best treatments that are not available at community hospitals. Who should I contact? If you have high blood pressure, call URMC Cardiology at (585) 275-2475. Learn more about the Hypertension Clinic at URMC. Know Your Numbers View this topic in our Health Encyclopedia.