Around one in three adults (70 million) in the United States currently has high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of those, about one-fifth are not aware that they have it.
Recognizing the risk factors of high blood pressure can help you take action to keep your own at a normal level. Learn how to keep your heart in good shape and blood pressure at a healthy level with information from the Department of Public Health (DPH).
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against a person’s blood vessel walls as the heart moves blood throughout the body. In cases where an individual has high blood pressure (otherwise known as hypertension), the heart must work harder to pump blood to the rest of the body.
Blood pressure is measured in two numbers: systolic, which measures pressure when the heart beats, and diastolic, which measures when the heart is resting. Blood pressure levels are determined by certain number ranges.
The good news is that with diet and lifestyle changes, high blood pressure can be controlled and lowered to a healthy level. You should discuss your blood pressure with your doctor at your next checkup.
Who Is at Risk of Developing High Blood Pressure?
People who meet the following criteria may be more likely to develop high blood pressure:
- Individuals over the age of 35
- People who have family members with high blood pressure
- Individuals who are overweight or obese
- People who are not physically active
- Anyone who is exposed to tobacco smoke on a regular basis
- Anyone who has a diet high in salty or fatty foods
- People who consume excessive amounts of alcohol
- Anyone who has high levels of stress
Why Should I Get My Blood Pressure Checked?
There are no symptoms to indicate high blood pressure, but it is a very serious medical condition. Uncontrolled blood pressure is the primary cause of preventable death from stroke, heart attack, and other diseases. The only way to determine if you have high blood pressure is to get it checked. Working with your doctor or healthcare professional can help you control your blood pressure and stay healthy.
How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure?
You can take several steps to reduce high blood pressure:
- Lower your salt/sodium intake.
- Get active! Move more by exercising regularly — around 30 minutes per day, five days a week.
- Keep at a healthy weight.
- Eat healthy — choose fruits and vegetables over sugary snacks and fatty foods.
- Consult your doctor or healthcare provider for additional tips suited to your needs.
- Manage stress and anxiety in your life.
What are your tips for lowering blood pressure? Share them with us by commenting below or tweeting @MassGov.
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