High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. It’s a common heart disease. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with hypertension, you’re among more than 80 million people in the United States.
Simply put, you're not alone. And you’re one of the lucky ones if you already know you have it. Why?
Hypertension goes undetected in one in three people who have it because it gives off very few warning signs.
But if you’ve been diagnosed, you and your doctor can overcome the challenges of hypertension.
How does hypertension work? When your blood pressure is high, your heart is working too hard to pump blood to the rest of your body. This damages your arteries, which carry blood from your heart. The damage leads to heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke.
How is blood pressure measured? A nurse or doctor uses what’s called a blood pressure cuff, which is placed around your upper arm. The cuff measures both the pressure in your arteries during your heartbeat and the pressure in those arteries between heartbeats. These two pressures are assigned separate numbers. Written down, your blood pressure reading may look something like this: 130/95. Or your doctor may tell you, “Your blood pressure is 130 over 95.”
Is your blood pressure in a healthy range? If both numbers of your blood pressure reading are less than 120/80, you have healthy blood pressure. Anything higher should be discussed with your doctor.
What causes high blood pressure?
- Poor diet with too much salt
- High stress
- Family history
Are you at risk for vascular disease? Take our checklist.
How often should you get checked for hypertension? Every year, at minimum. Hypertension rarely shows any physical signs, so it’s important to have it checked at your annual doctor appointment. If it’s higher than 120/80, ask your doctor how often you should get it checked.
- Eat a healthier diet.
- Increase your physical activity.
- Reduce your stress.
- Limit your alcohol.
- Avoid tobacco smoke.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduce your salt intake.
- Take medication if prescribed by your doctor.
See your doctor and try these changes to prevent high blood pressure.