High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects approximately 76.4 million adults. And while everyone has and needs blood pressure, your arteries are stretched beyond healthy limits when the force of the blood that flows through your arteries gets too high.
Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers and read as "X over X." The top number measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats, and the bottom number measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats. According to the American Heart Association, normal blood pressure should read less than 120 for the top number and less than 80 for the lower number.
High blood pressure is a chronic condition that occurs over time. Some consequences of unchecked blood pressure range from shortness of breath and nosebleeds to strokes and heart attacks, depending on the level of severity.
The good news is you are in control of preventing and managing hypertension. From what you eat to how you handle stress, adopting a healthy lifestyle is the key to managing high blood pressure. Below are seven recommendations from the American Heart Association on how to control your blood pressure:
- Reduce sodium intake to less than 1500 mg per day.
- Aim for 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per week.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Losing some weight may help lower your blood pressure
- Manage your stress. Change your daily habits, adjust your expectations or find ways to calm your thoughts.
- Avoid tobacco smoke. Each cigarette you smoke temporarily increases your blood pressure.
- Limit your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women.
- Use hot tubs safely. Did you know people with high blood pressure should not move back and forth between cold water and hot tubs?
For more information, consult with our physicians. High blood pressure is often called the "silent killer" - don't become another statistic.