Hypertension and You
They call it the silent killer, because many people do not know they even have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, until it causes major complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and erectile dysfunction (ED).
Hypertension refers to a condition where the pressure or force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls is consistently too high. High blood pressure can damage your health in many ways. It can seriously hurt important organs like your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. The good news is that, in most cases, you can manage your blood pressure to lower your risk for serious health problems.
With every heartbeat, blood moves through your veins and arteries. Blood pressure readings reflect two numbers: The top number is the systolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure on the blood vessel walls when your heart beats or contracts. The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure on your blood vessels between beats when your heart is relaxing. A normal reading measure below 130/80. For example, a blood pressure of 110/70 is within the normal range, but a blood pressure of 135/85 is regarded as stage 1 (mild) hypertension.
Many say that they can feel when their blood pressure is high, but research shows that is often not true. Even when you can’t feel it, high blood pressure is actively harming you and can lead to irreversible damage to your body.
Knowing your numbers is the first line of defense, and your physician will measure your blood pressure at each visit. You can also measure your blood pressure at home. If your blood pressure is too high, you may need medication. There are also lifestyle changes you can make to help lower your blood pressure. They include:
- Getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week (about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week)
- Not smoking
- Eating five servings of vegetables a day
- Eating a healthy diet, including limiting sodium (salt) and alcohol
- Keeping a healthy weight
- Managing stress
To learn more, log onto https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/about.htm#problems