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Managing High Blood Pressure

Managing High Blood Pressure

You can have high blood pressure and not even know it. Even if it isn't making you feel bad, it can lead to serious conditions.

The good news is that high blood pressure can be managed. Regular tests and the right diet/exercise plan can help you take control in managing high blood pressure.

Why is high blood pressure dangerous?

When you have high blood pressure, your heart is working extra hard to do its job. The extra stress on your body makes it hard for it to work properly.

The longer you live with high blood pressure, the more likely it is that you will develop stroke, heart attack, kidney disease or blindness.

Who's at risk?

High blood pressure is a problem for about 76 million Americans. The condition affects many people as they age. Middle-aged Americans have a 90 percent chance of developing high blood pressure at some point. African Americans may develop high blood pressures more often and earlier than white populations.

If you have a blood pressure reading between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg, you may have a condition called pre-hypertension. That means you may be developing high blood pressure. It's important that you have it checked regularly and follow your doctor's advice.

Follow this checklist when managing high blood pressure:

High Blood Pressure Checklist

  • Have regular exams and blood tests.
  • Manage your cholesterol and have regular blood cholesterol tests.
  • Take any blood pressure medicine as prescribed.

10 Steps to Better Blood Pressure

A few simple lifestyle changes can help you manage your blood pressure.

  • Talk with your doctor about your healthiest weight and work to maintain it.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Reduce the sodium you eat.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Stay away from tobacco and secondhand smoke.
  • Cut back on coffee and other caffeinated beverages.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Check your blood pressure at home with an upper arm monitor.
  • Lean on loved ones for support.

Protect yourself and your family. Talk with your doctor today about managing high blood pressure.

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