High blood pressure is very common but can't be seen or felt. Many people with high blood pressure don't know they have it. The best way to know if you have high blood pressure is to keep track of your numbers. You can get your blood pressure checked at your doctor's office, at home, or at your local pharmacy. It's important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.
High blood pressure is defined by 2 numbers (systolic and diastolic). The systolic or top number measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart is pushing. The diastolic or bottom number measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats.
In general, systolic blood pressure (SBP) less than 120 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) less than 80 mm Hg are considered normal. Your doctor will help you decide what your specific blood pressure goals should be. They will consider factors like your overall health and age. Targets may be lower for those with diabetes or kidney disease. Even slightly higher blood pressure can increase the risk of complications with these health issues.
Having diet high in red meat, salt, and saturated and trans fats
High alcohol intake
Risk factors don't mean you will get high blood pressure, but that you have an increased chance of developing it. Fortunately, there are also factors that can help you prevent high blood pressure or lower your blood pressure if you already have elevated blood pressure.
Lifestyle Guidelines to Prevent or Reduce High Blood Pressure TOP
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s recommendations to help prevent or lower high blood pressure include:
Losing weight if you are overweight
Increasing levels of physical activity—Aim for 30 minutes per day on most days of the week.
Another approach endorsed by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is use of the
DASH diet. This is a special low-salt diet which has been shown effective in both preventing and treating high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a major player in heart disease and stroke. Protect yourself and know your numbers. The next time you take a trip to the pharmacy, check your blood pressure. If you do it on a regular basis and follow the lifestyle guidelines, you may be able to avoid future problems.