Like most people, you probably know someone that has high blood pressure also called “hypertension.” Based on data from 2018, there are now more than 100 million Americans suffering from this disease. Unfortunately, if current trends of inactivity and poor diet continue, this number will only increase. Let’s review the basics of blood pressure.
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers. The first number tells you how much pressure your blood is applying against your artery walls when the heart beats. The second number tells you how much pressure your blood is applying against your artery walls while your heart is resting between beats. Normal blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are still considered within normal range. Last year, however, the medical community issued new guidelines redefining high blood pressure as 130/80 mm Hg which is a reduction from the previous guidelines of 140/90 mm Hg. The good news is that these new guideline recommendations may reduce the deaths among stroke victims by almost one-third.
High blood pressure is commonly known as the “silent killer” because the signs and symptoms may not be obvious, may be subtle and usually develop slowly over time. High blood pressure is commonly related to, heart attacks and heart failure, but it is also a major health threat that can lead to kidney damage, stroke and vision loss.
Do yourself a favor and make some heart healthy changes that matter such as:
- Eat a balanced diet including foods rich in potassium and limit salt.
- Get regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
- Quit smoking and limit alcohol.
- Manage stress.
- Know your blood pressure numbers.
- Follow your doctor’s orders and take medications as prescribed.