High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the leading cause of heart disease and affects 75 million Americans, many of whom don’t even know they have it. High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” since it doesn’t cause obvious outward symptoms. At Capital Cardiac Care in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Pankaj Lal, MD, offers customized treatment plans for this serious cardiovascular condition so it doesn’t lead to worse health problems. If you’re in Montgomery County and have high blood pressure or suspect you might, call or make an appointment online today.

request an appointment

What is high blood pressure?

Your blood pressure is the force exerted by your blood as it passes through your arteries. It’s measured both when your heart beats (systolic) and when your heart is at rest between beats (diastolic) and is written as a ratio — systolic/diastolic.

Healthy blood pressure is 120/80 mm/Hg and below. High blood pressure is anything over 140/90. If your blood pressure measures between 120-139/80-89, it’s considered prehypertension.

High blood pressure is a sign that your heart is working too hard and that you’re at risk of developing more serious cardiovascular issues, including:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Aneurysm

What causes high blood pressure?

Many factors contribute to your risk of developing high blood pressure, such as:

  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Age
  • Race
  • Obesity
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption

How is high blood pressure diagnosed?

You should have your blood pressure monitored at your annual physical examination. It’s the simple test where your nurse puts the cuff on your arm that gets tighter while they monitor your heartbeat and the readings on the gauge. If your results indicate high blood pressure, you’ll have additional monitoring to ensure that your numbers weren’t caused by an unrelated issue.

How is high blood pressure treated?

In many cases, you can lower your blood pressure with some lifestyle modifications. Dr. Lal will coach you and offer support to help you lead a healthier life. Some of the changes you can make include:

Dietary changes

Dr. Lal can help you develop a heart-healthy diet plan that is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins with limited amounts of fat, red meat, and sugar. When you limit fatty processed foods and reduce your alcohol consumption, you can start to lower your blood pressure.


Regular exercise helps to strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system. Dr. Lal suggests you aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least four days per week. This could be a simple as taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood after dinner.

Weight loss

Lowering your body weight alone will reduce your blood pressure. If you are making dietary and exercise changes to support a healthy blood pressure, you should lose weight, which will further improve your blood pressure numbers.

Smoking cessation

If you use tobacco products, ask for Dr. Lal’s assistance in quitting. Smoking damages your cardiovascular system and contributes to a wide range of serious health issues.

If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your blood pressure, Dr. Lal can prescribe medications to help.

If you are concerned about high blood pressure and the associated cardiovascular risks, call or book an appointment online today.