High blood pressure is a common, yet serious, health problem in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one-third of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, and only half of those who have hypertension are managing it properly. Many don’t even realize that they have high blood pressure.
Having high blood pressure increases your risk of death from heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Checking your blood pressure on a regular basis can help you avoid the dangers associated with hypertension. What is high blood pressure, what are the different stages of hypertension, and when should you see a doctor for your blood pressure?
Understanding your blood pressure reading
You will get two numbers with a blood pressure reading. The first number is your systolic pressure, and the second number is your diastolic pressure.
Systolic pressure is the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
Diastolic pressure is the pressure in your arteries between each heartbeat.
Blood pressure-measuring gauges with a digital reader display the systolic pressure as the top number and the diastolic pressure as the bottom number.
Your blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg.
Normal, elevated, and stages of hypertension
Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mmHg.
An elevated blood pressure is a blood pressure that’s higher than normal, but not high enough to be hypertension. You have an elevated blood pressure if the systolic pressure is between 120 and 129 mmHg and the diastolic pressure is below 80 mmHg.
Stage 1 hypertension is a systolic pressure between 130 and 139 mmHg, or a diastolic pressure between 80 and 89 mmHg.
Stage 2 hypertension is a systolic pressure over 140mmHg, or a diastolic pressure over 90 mmHg
The American Heart Association defines a systolic pressure over 180 mmHg and a diastolic pressure over 120 mmHg (or just a diastolic pressure over 120 mmHg) as hypertensive crisis. Contact your doctor immediately if you see these blood pressure readings.
Check your blood pressure on a regular basis. You can buy blood pressure gauges to use at home, many pharmacies and grocery stores have devices to check your blood pressure, and your doctor will check your blood pressure during visits.
Hypertension must be diagnosed by a medical professional. Your doctor will take several readings at different appointments before diagnosing hypertension or high blood pressure.Many people live with hypertension without even realizing it. Check your blood pressure on a regular basis, and talk to your doctor about high blood pressure readings. Click To Tweet
Managing high blood pressure
Not drinking alcohol, or limiting the amount of alcohol that you drink, can help control high blood pressure.
Regular physical activity is important for your overall health, and it is an effective way to lower your blood pressure.
A diet high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and low in sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol can help manage high blood pressure.
Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can also help keep blood pressure in check.
Lifestyle choices are important to managing blood pressure, but sometimes healthy choices are not enough. Your doctor may prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure.
Your primary care physician will work with you to manage your blood pressure. Meet with a MANA doctor in Northwest Arkansas today.