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Do You Have Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems. It is estimated that one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, but many people do not know they have it.

High blood pressure is called the "silent killer" because it often has no symptoms. That's why it's important to have your blood pressure checked regularly, even if you feel healthy.

The good news is that high blood pressure can be controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, if needed. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about how to lower it and protect your health.

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. When your blood pressure is high, it means that your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. Over time, high blood pressure can damage your heart, brain, kidneys, and other organs. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mmHg. If your blood pressure is consistently above 130/80 mmHg, you have high blood pressure.

Shareable Blood Pressure Chart By YourDigitalChoices.com

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

Most people with high blood pressure don't have any symptoms. That's why it's important to have your blood pressure checked regularly, even if you feel healthy.

Some people with high blood pressure may experience headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest pain. However, these symptoms are not always caused by high blood pressure.

What are the causes of high blood pressure?

There are many factors that can contribute to high blood pressure, including:

  • Age: Your risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you get older.
  • Family history: If you have a family history of high blood pressure, you're more likely to develop it yourself.
  • Race: African Americans are more likely to have high blood pressure than Caucasians.
  • Weight: Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for high blood pressure.
  • Diet: Eating a diet high in salt, saturated fat, and cholesterol can raise your blood pressure.
  • Lack of exercise: Physical activity helps to lower blood pressure.
  • Stress: Stress can raise your blood pressure in the short-term. If you're under chronic stress, it can raise your blood pressure over time.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as steroids and birth control pills, can raise blood pressure.

How is high blood pressure diagnosed?

Your doctor can diagnose high blood pressure by taking your blood pressure. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg. Prehypertension is blood pressure that is between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg. High blood pressure is blood pressure that is 140/90 mmHg or higher.

How is high blood pressure treated?

If you have high blood pressure, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan that's right for you. The treatment plan may include lifestyle changes, medication, or a combination of both.

Lifestyle changes that can help lower blood pressure include:

  • Losing weight if you're overweight or obese
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Reducing stress
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Quitting smoking

Medications that can help lower blood pressure include:

  • Diuretics
  • Beta blockers
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Vasodilators

How can I prevent high blood pressure?

There are a number of things you can do to help prevent high blood pressure, including:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit salt intake
  • Don't smoke
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Manage stress
  • Get regular checkups from your doctor

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