What is High Blood Pressure?
Our goal is to educate consumers and their families about high blood pressure and its consequences
and to help them manage this common condition. You and your family can begin to take charge of your health.
What exactly is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is created by the force of your blood pushing against the artery walls as it circulates and the force of the artery walls as they resist blood flow. If you have High blood pressure then the pressure in your arteries is elevated. You have high blood pressure when your numbers are consistently 140/90 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) or greater.
High blood pressure is common and can have serious health consequences
High blood pressure is a prevalent health condition in our country. About 74 million US adults have high blood pressure—nearly 1 in 3. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that approximately 20% of them don’t know they have it.
If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney failure, making it more difficult for you to be active, work, and even take care of your family.
Symptoms of high blood pressure
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is to get it checked regularly by your healthcare professional. If you don’t know what your blood pressure is, schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional to find out.
You can take action!
Fortunately, once you know you have high blood pressure, it can be effectively lowered and managed with lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medication. To reduce high blood pressure:
- Lose weight if necessary.* If you’re overweight, you’re putting too much strain
on your heart. Shedding weight can help lower blood pressure levels.
- Eat healthy meals* low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.
Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. By eating less cholesterol and less saturated fat, you can help avoid heart attack and stroke.
- Limit your salt intake. Salt tends to hold onto fluid in the body and put extra pressure on the heart. Cut down on the salt you use in cooking and don’t add salt to your food. Get in the habit of chekcing food labels for sodium levels.
- Be active.* Exercise at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week. Regular physical activity helps reduce your blood pressure, control your weight, and reduce stress. Start slowly and choose activities you really enjoy!
- Limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
- Take medicine the way your healthcare professional tells you. Do not stop treatment on your own. If you have problems or side effects, call your healthcare professional.
- Know your blood pressure numbers and work with your healthcare professional to determine your personal blood pressure goal. Follow the action steps above and schedule regular checkups to stay on track.
We hope you find this information helpful. Helping you and your family keep your blood pressure under control and take charge of your health is important.
*Always talk to your healthcare professional before starting any weight loss, dietary, or exercise program.