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May is High Blood Pressure Education Month, which aims to save lives by increasing awareness and educating the public about the impact of hypertension and to reduce death and disability related to high blood pressure.
So just what is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure happens when there is an obstruction to blood flow in the body, creating more pressure on the heart to pump blood. Causes of high blood pressure include being inactive, obese, getting older and genetics.
Have you checked your blood pressure lately?
Because high blood pressure often doesn’t have any symptoms, it’s important to get your blood pressure regularly checked.
What’s a normal reading?
120 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) over 80 mmHg is normal blood pressure, meaning the systolic pressure, force of the blood against the artery walls as your heart beats, is 120 mmHg while the diastolic pressure, blood pressure between heartbeats, is 80 mmHg.
Can you control your blood pressure?
Absolutely! In fact, by modifying two risk factors, diet and exercise, you can control, and often lower, your blood pressure.
What else can you do?
Reduce the amount of salt in your diet, limit alcohol consumption, get regular exercise, manage stress, eat healthy and quit smoking if you currently smoke.
Do you have high blood pressure? Partner with your physician to find a treatment plan that works for you and keep working together until you are satisfied with the plan. Because there are many medications available that treat high blood pressure, it may take time to find the medication that works best for you.
Left untreated, high blood pressure can cause heart, kidney and eye disease and stroke.