Hypertension, also known high blood pressure, affects 1 in 3 adults in the US, but many people do not even know they have it.
When your blood pressure is too high, your heart must work harder to pump blood. This can cause the blood vessels to become thickened and rough, leading to a buildup of artery damaging plaque. High blood pressure also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the first- and fourth-leading causes of death among Americans. High blood pressure can also result in other conditions, such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness. Symptoms are not always obvious, so it is important to know if you are at risk, and to take steps to get your blood pressure under control if yours is elevated. Blood pressure can be measured easily and quickly by using a blood pressure cuff. Make sure to visit your doctor or health care provider regularly, and monitor your blood pressure as directed so that you are aware of your numbers.
Normal blood pressure is about 120/70, and is a measurement of the pressure of the blood on vessels during a heartbeat. Hypertension cannot be cured in most cases, but it is a condition that may require lifelong treatment. To keep you blood pressure under control, eat heart healthy foods, maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, manage stress, limit alcohol and quit smoking. When blood pressure cannot be controlled by these measures, medications may be necessary.
If your blood pressure is higher than normal, work with your St. Luke’s physician or cardiologist to develop a treatment plan. If you don’t have one, Find a Doctor today!