Nearly half of all American adults have high blood pressure (hypertension), and many don’t even know it.
What you don’t know about hypertension could hurt you. Uncontrolled high blood pressure raises the risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States. Fortunately, high blood pressure is both preventable and treatable.
Know Your Numbers
Many people with hypertension don’t even know they have it because hypertension often has no symptoms. Checking your blood pressure, either at home with a monitor or at your doctor’s office, is the only way to know for sure whether it is too high.
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers.
The first number is called the systolic blood pressure, and it measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart actively beats.
The second number is the diastolic blood pressure, and it measures the pressure in your arteries when you heart rests between beats.
No matter your age, you can take steps to keep your blood pressure in a range that is healthy for you. Keep reading to learn more!
A normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmhg. See the chart below for insight into blood pressure classifications:
How to Take Your Blood Pressure
About High Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. The only way to know your blood pressure is to measure it, as there are no symptoms of hypertension. Having blood pressure measures that are consistently above normal indicate high blood pressure.
The higher your blood pressure levels, the more at risk you are for developing other health problems, such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Hypertension usually develops over time. It most commonly develops due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, and/or as a side effect of certain health conditions.
This condition can damage your health in numerous ways, but it can seriously hurt important organs like your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
Managing Your Blood Pressure
Many people with high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure into a healthy range or keep their numbers in a healthy range by making lifestyle changes.
Eating a diet filled with fruits and vegetables, keeping yourself at a healthy weight, being physically active, limiting how much alcohol you drink, getting enough sleep, and not smoking are all ways to prevent high blood pressure.
In addition to making positive lifestyle changes, some people with high blood pressure need to also take medicine to manage their blood pressure.
There are many different types of medicine that can help manage blood pressure and it is important to take your blood pressure medicine exactly as your doctor tells you to. Do not stop taking your current medicine without talking to your doctor first.