What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. The heart pumps blood into the arteries (blood vessels), which carry the blood throughout the body. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, means the pressure in your arteries is above the normal range.
How is blood pressure recorded?
Blood pressure is written as two numbers, such as 124/72. The first number is the systolic pressure. This is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number is the diastolic pressure. This is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.
How will I know if I have high blood pressure?
Your health care provider can tell you if you have high blood pressure by checking your blood pressure with a special meter. You usually cannot feel high blood pressure; many people who have high blood pressure don't know they have it.
You should have your blood pressure checked once a year to make sure you don’t have high blood pressure. Do not rely on drug store measurements. These may not be good enough.
What is a normal blood pressure reading?
|Type of blood pressure reading
||Normal blood pressure
||Normal to high blood pressure
||High blood pressure
What can happen if high blood pressure is not treated?
- Heart Attack
- Heart Failure
- Kidney Failure
Who is more likely to have high blood pressure?
- People with family members who have high blood pressure
- Women who are pregnant
- Women who take birth control pills
- People over 35
- People who are overweight
- People who are not active
- People who drink a lot of alcohol
- People who eat too much high-fat or high-sodium food
- People who smoke
- People taking immunosuppressive medications
What should be done if you have high blood pressure?
- Eat healthy foods that are low in salt and fat
- Lose weight, if you are overweight
- Be more physically active
- Take high blood pressure medicine if your health care provider prescribes it, and take it as directed
- Have regular blood pressure checks
What should I include in my diet to control high blood pressure?
- Eat foods that are lower in fat, salt and calories such as skim or 1% milk, fresh vegetables and fruit, and plain rice and pasta. (Ask your health care provider for a more detailed list of foods to eat.)
- Use flavorings, spices and herbs to make foods tasty without using salt
- Avoid or cut down on butter and margarine, regular salad dressings, fatty meats, whole milk dairy products, fried foods and salted snacks
How can I be more active?
- Check first with your health care provider before increasing your physical activity.
- Choose activities you enjoy such as walking, biking or swimming.
- Start slowly and increase activity gradually.
What should I know about blood pressure medicine?
There are many different medications used to treat high blood pressure. If you are prescribed high blood pressure medication, be sure to follow the exact directions.
Also, ask what side effects can happen with your medicine, and talk to your health care provider about any problems or side effects you may have with your medicine. Lastly, do not stop taking the medicine on your own.
How can I learn more?
- Talk to your health care provider or visit your local library. You also can call health care agencies such as:
- The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Information Center: 301.592.8573
- The American Heart Association: 800.242.8721
For More Information
If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 216.444.8282. We will be happy to answer your questions.