High Blood Pressure: What You Need to Know
Blood pressure numbers indicate the amount of force generated when your blood pushes against the walls your arteries with every heartbeat. This measurement fluctuates and usually rises during the day. However, if your blood pressure gets high and stays high, it can cause a number of health problems that include increasing your risk for stroke, aneurysm and chronic kidney disease. Chronic high blood pressure is sometimes called hypertension.
67 million American adults have high blood pressure; that's one out of every three adults! Less than half of people with high blood pressure take actions to control their condition.*
Blood Pressure Numbers Explained
A normal blood pressure measurement is defined as 120 over 80 (written as 120/80) or less. The top number represents systolic blood pressure, a measurement of the pressure of your arteries when your heart is beating out. The bottom number represents diastolic blood pressure which is a measurement of the pressure of your arteries while the heart is filling back up with blood between beats. The table below explains what these numbers mean.
How to Prevent or Control High Blood Pressure
Work with your doctor to track and manage your blood pressure over time. Sometimes, high blood pressure can be prevented or even cured through easy lifestyle changes.
Here are a few tips:
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Drink enough water to stay hydrated
- Reduce sodium (salt) in your diet
- Don't use tobacco
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Find ways to reduce stress
- Take medications as prescribed by your doctor
Visit BeHealthy.com or talk to your doctor for more information.
*According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2013)