High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called Hypertension, is when the force of the blood moving through your vessels is consistently too high. ALmost 50% of Americans have high blood pressure and most don’t know they have it.
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers. Systolic (the upper number) and Diastolic (the lower number). When talking about your blood pressure, your doctor may say that it is “120 over 80”. What she means is that your Systolic blood pressure is 120 and your diastolic blood pressure is 80.
What should my blood pressure be?
Everyone’s blood pressure is different and it can fluctuate. Stress, what you eat and if you are active can affect your blood pressure numbers.
The chart to the right shows the ranges of blood pressure doctors use to measure your numbers against. Normal blood pressure is less than 120 over less than 80, so 120/80 is a normal blood pressure.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
The trouble with high blood pressure is that it is known as the “Silent Killer” because there can be no obvious symptoms. Certain traits and lifestyles can put you at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure but the only way to know for sure is to get your blood pressure checked.
When left untreated, hypertension can damage your circulatory system or the system of vessels that carry blood around your body including your heart. This damage can put you at greater risk of a heart attack, stroke and other health issues.
The good news is that by changing your diet and living a healthier lifestyle, some people can manage their blood pressure without the need for medication. However, there are several medications available to help those people who can’t.
Some of the lifestyle changes you can make include:
- Eat a well-balanced, low-salt diet
- Limit alcohol
- Exercise regularly
- Manage stress
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Take your medications properly