By Carolyn Muller
Community Health Improvement Specialist
When was the last time you had your blood pressure checked? High blood pressure is a common but dangerous condition. It means that that the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is higher than it should be. Since February is National Heart Health Month, what a great opportunity to have your blood pressure checked, and if it's too high, make better control your goal.
About one of three U.S. adults, about 70 million people, have high blood pressure. Only about half of these people have their high blood pressure under control. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. People with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.
High blood pressure is called the "silent killer" because it often has no warning signs or symptoms and many people do not know they have it. That's why it is important to check your blood pressure regularly.
To keep your blood pressure in a healthy range and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke:
• Eat a healthy diet
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Get enough physical activity
• Do not smoke
• Limit alcohol use
If your blood pressure is high, there are steps you can take to get it under control:
• Talk to your doctor and ask what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your blood pressure and talk about how you can reach your goal. Track your blood pressure over time.
• Take your blood pressure medication as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medication at the same time each day. If you are having trouble remembering to take your medications or if you are having side effects, ask your doctor for help.
• Quit smoking—and if you don't smoke, don't start.
• Reduce your sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise your blood pressure.
To improve your overall health, LRGHealthcare can help! Contact the Community Education Department at 527-7120 or lrgh.org for a listing of all upcoming classes.
- Category: Health and Wellness
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