High blood pressure, sometimes referred to as hypertension, affects nearly 50% of American adults. Every year in May, High Blood Pressure Education Month aims to raise awareness about this potentially fatal health condition. This article will provide information on high blood pressure and some helpful tips to mitigate your risk factors.
What Is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body.
Your blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day.
Preventing High Blood Pressure
You can take several actions to decrease your risk, keeping your blood pressure at a safe level.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Choose healthy meal and snack options to help you avoid high blood pressure and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Talk with your health care team about eating a variety of foods rich in potassium, fiber, and protein and lower in salt (sodium) and saturated fat. For many people, making these healthy changes can help keep blood pressure low and protect against heart disease and stroke.
Keep Yourself at a Healthy Weight
Having overweight or obesity increases your risk for high blood pressure. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDC’s Assessing Your Weight website. Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to assess body fat.
Be Physically Active
Physical activity can help keep you at a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or bicycling, every week. That’s about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Children and adolescents should get 1 hour of physical activity every day.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important to your overall health, and enough sleep is part of keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy. Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Measure Your Blood Pressure on a Regular Basis
Measuring your blood pressure is an important step toward keeping a healthy blood pressure. Because high blood pressure and elevated blood pressure often have no symptoms, checking your blood pressure is the only way to know for sure whether it is too high.
You can measure your blood pressure at home with a home blood pressure monitor, or you can visit your doctor or nurse to have your blood pressure checked.
If you learn that you have high blood pressure, you should take steps to control your blood pressure to lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Managing Your Blood Pressure for a Healthy Life
As hypertension has minimal signs or symptoms, it is essential to monitor your blood pressure as mentioned above, regularly. Effectively managing your blood pressure is the best way to prevent hypertension from causing more significant health issues.