About High Blood Pressure

hypertensionminorities_a200pxHigh blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems.

“Blood pressure” is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.

From NHLBI Site: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/

WHAT DO BLOOD PRESSURE NUMBERS MEAN?

Blood pressure is measured as systolic (sis-TOL-ik) and diastolic (di-ah-STOL-ik) pressures.

040"Systolic" refers to blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood.
029"Diastolic" refers to blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.

You most often will see blood pressure numbers written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80 mmHg. (The mmHg is millimeters of mercury—the units used to measure blood pressure.)

Blood Pressure
Category
Systolic
mm Hg (upper #)
 Diastolic
mm Hg (lower #)
Normalless than 120andless than 80
Prehypertension120139or8089
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
140159or9099
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higheror100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)
Higher than 180orHigher than 110

* Your doctor should evaluate unusually low blood pressure readings.

Reference graph for American Heart Association

The ranges in the table apply to most adults (aged 18 and older) who don't have short-term serious illnesses.


Blood pressure doesn't stay the same all the time.

It lowers as you sleep and rises when you wake up. Blood pressure also rises when you're excited, nervous, or active. If your numbers stay above normal most of the time, you're at risk for health problems. The risk grows as blood pressure numbers rise. "Prehypertension" means you may end up with HBP, unless you take steps to prevent it.

If you're being treated for HBP and have repeat readings in the normal range, your blood pressure is under control. However, you still have the condition. You should see your doctor and follow your treatment plan to keep your blood pressure under control.

HOW TO MANAGE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

There are eight main ways you can control your blood pressure.

From the American Heart Association

045Eat a better diet, which may include reducing salt
018Enjoy regular physical activity
039Maintain a healthy weight
006Manage stress
016Avoid tobacco smoke
041Comply with medication prescriptions
049If you drink, limit alcohol
056Understand hot tub safety

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is critical for the prevention of HBP and an indispensable part of managing it. Think of these changes as a "lifestyle prescription" and make every effort to comply with them.

Whether you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, also called hypertension, or are concerned because you have some of the risk factors for the disease, understand this: while there is no cure, high blood pressure is manageable.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is critical for the prevention of HBP and an indispensable part of managing it.


Think of these changes as a "lifestyle prescription" and make every effort to comply with them.

Whether you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, also called hypertension, or are concerned because you have some of the risk factors for the disease, understand this: while there is no cure, high blood pressure is manageable.
Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle!

By adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can:

  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Prevent or delay the development of HBP
  • Enhance the effectiveness of blood pressure medications
  • Lower your risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease
Reduce your risks!

Even if your blood pressure is normal (less than 120 mm Hg systolic AND less than 80 mm Hg diastolic) and your goal is prevention only, the lifestyle modifications provide a prescription for healthy living.

  • If your resting blood pressure falls in the pre-hypertension range (systolic - top- number between 120 and 139 mm Hg OR diastolic - bottom - number between 80 and 89 mm Hg), your doctor will recommend lifestyle modifications.

Lifestyle modifications are essential
These changes may reduce your blood pressure without the use of prescription medications.

Do your part to reach your treatment goals

Consider these statistics regarding those with known HBP:

  •    69.1 percent are under current treatment
  •    30.9 percent are not currently under treatment, even though they know their blood pressure is high

There is no healthy level of high blood pressure.

Don't take life-or-death chances with this disease. Instead, take responsibility!

Work with your healthcare professional to determine your treatment goals and map out your best action plan for HBP prevention and management.

Be Informed!

Of all people with high blood pressure, over 20 percent are unaware of their condition. This symptomless disease could leave them with substantial health consequences.

Are you one of them?

If you don't know, see a healthcare professional to be tested.

Take medication if prescribed for you

If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, your doctor will likely prescribe medication in addition to lifestyle modifications. Follow your healthcare professional's recommendations carefully, even if it means taking medication every day for the rest of your life.

High blood pressure is a lifelong disease, and by partnering with your healthcare team, you can successfully reach your treatment goals and enjoy the benefits of better health.

Once your treatment program becomes routine, maintaining a lower blood pressure is easier.

Remind yourself that by managing your blood pressure, you are lowering your risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, peripheral artery disease and kidney disease. Death rates from these diseases have decreased significantly, thanks in part to earlier and better treatment of HBP.

Managing blood pressure is a lifelong commitment; make a pledge to do so starting today for yourself and for those you love.

Listen to your doctor, read the sound medical information on this site, and act on the information to live a heart-healthier life.

UFH_logo_RGB_webThis project is funded by Community Health Councils' United for Health, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Community Transformation Grant - Small Communities Program.

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