Facts About Hypertension

High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death for Americans. High blood pressure is also very common. Tens of millions of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, and many do not have it under control.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure (or hypertension).

The higher your blood pressure levels, the more risk you have for other health problems, such as heart diseaseheart attack, and stroke.

Your health care team can diagnose high blood pressure and make treatment decisions by reviewing your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and comparing them to levels found in certain guidelines.

The guidelines used to diagnose high blood pressure may differ from health care professional to health care professional:

  • Some health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher.2 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2003, as seen in the table below.

  • Other health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher.1 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2017.

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body.

Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays high for a long time. Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, is blood pressure that is higher than normal.

Rates of High Blood Pressure Control Vary by Sex and Race

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is common; however, certain groups of people are more likely to have control over their high blood pressure than others.

  • A greater percentage of men (50%) have high blood pressure than women (44%).

  • High blood pressure is more common in non-Hispanic black adults (56%) than in non-Hispanic white adults (48%), non-Hispanic Asian adults (46%), or Hispanic adults (39%).

  • Among those recommended to take blood pressure medication, blood pressure control is higher among non-Hispanic white adults (32%) than in non-Hispanic black adults (25%), non-Hispanic Asian adults (19%), or Hispanic adults (25%)

Prevent High Blood Pressure

By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Preventing high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension, can ​lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. Practice the following healthy living habits:

Eat a Healthy Diet

Choose healthy meal and snack options to help you avoid high blood pressure and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Talk  with your health care team about eating a variety of foods rich in potassium, fiber, and protein and lower in salt (sodium) and saturated fat. 

Keep Yourself at a Healthy Weight

Having overweight or obesity increases your risk for high blood pressure. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctores often calculate your body mass index (BMI). Doctores sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to assess body fat. 

Talk with your health care team about ways to reach a healthy weight, including choosing healthy foods and getting regular physical activity.

Be Physically Active

Physical activity can help keep you at a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or bicycling, every week. That’s about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Children and adolescents should get 1 hour of physical activity every day.

Do Not Smoke

Smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease.

Limit How Much Alcohol You Drink 

Do not drink too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure. Men should have no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day, and women should have no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day.

Manage High Blood Pressure

Learn steps you can take to lower your risk for health problems from high blood pressure (also called hypertension), such as heart disease and stroke.
 

  • Measure Your Blood Pressure on a Regular Basis: Measuring your blood pressure is an important step toward keeping a healthy blood pressure. Because high blood pressure and elevated blood pressure often have no symptoms, checking your blood pressure is the only way to know for sure whether it is too high.
    You can measure your blood pressure at home with a home blood pressure monitor, or you can visit your doctor or nurse to have your blood pressure checked.
    If you learn that you have high blood pressure, you should take steps to control your blood pressure to lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.

     

  • Manage Diabetes: Most people with diabetes—about 6 out of 10—also have high blood pressure.1 If your health care professional thinks you have symptoms of diabetes, he or she may recommend that you get tested.
    If you have diabetes, monitor your blood glucose (also called blood sugar) levels carefully and talk with your health care team about treatment options. Your doctor or health care professional may recommend certain lifestyle changes to help keep your blood glucose levels under good control. Those actions will also help reduce your risk for high blood pressure.

     

  • Take Your Medicine: If you take medicine to treat high blood pressure or other health conditions, follow your doctor’s or health care professional’s instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you do not understand something, and never stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor or pharmacist first. Stopping your blood pressure medicine without first talking to your health care team could lead to serious health consequences.
     

  • Make Lifestyle Changes: If you have high blood pressure, you can help lower it by being physically active, eating a healthy diet, and making other lifestyle
     

  • Talk with Your Health Care Team: You and your health care team can work together to prevent or treat the medical conditions that lead to high blood pressure. Discuss your treatment plan regularly and bring a list of questions to your appointments.

Consult a doctor for medical advice or visit us at PEOPLE CARE INSTITUTE for more information

 

Note: The information you see here is general and describes what usually happens with a medical condition, but doesn't apply to everyone. This information IS NOT  a substitute for professional medical advice, so please make sure to contact a healthcare provider if you have a medical problem.