High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels. When blood pressure becomes elevated (hypertension,) the heart works harder than normal, putting both the heart and the arteries under increased strain.

There are many risk factors for high blood pressure. Some of these risk factors are uncontrollable and others are dependent on lifestyle. Heredity, gender, age, and race are all risk factors for high blood pressure that are beyond control. Smoking, obesity, stress, lack of exercise, and salt intake are lifestyle related risk factors, these can be controlled. If you have multiple uncontrollable risk factors, you should take extra care in avoiding controllable risk factors.

High blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, dementia, eye damage, and congestive heart failure. High blood pressure can be controlled with medication, but experts say the best way to control blood pressure is lifestyle change. If you suffer from high blood pressure, see your doctor to determine the best course of treatment.

Tips to Lower High Blood Pressure:

1. Lose weight
2. Reduce salt intake
3. Eat a diet high in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lowfat dairy products
4. Exercise
5. Limit stress
6. Limit alcohol intake
7. Don’t smoke
8. Ask your doctor about aspirin
9. Take medication as prescribed

Defining Blood Pressure Readings

Ranges may vary depending on other health conditions.

* Optimal: less than 120/80
* Normal: 120/80 – 129/84
* Stage 1 Hypertension: 140/90 – 159/99
* Stage 2 Hypertension: 160/100 – 179/109
* Stage 3 Hypertension: 180/110 and higher

To Get An Accurate Blood Pressure Reading

1. Sit down and relax, breathe normally
2. Empty your bladder
3. Don’t smoke or drink coffee, tea, or caffeinated soda before the test