High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer.” People with high blood pressure usually have no warning signs or symptoms, so they don’t know they have it. All the while, it’s damaging vital organs in the body.
Your heart never stops working, pumping blood through your arteries to be carried throughout your whole body. The blood inside your arteries puts pressure on the walls of the arteries. This is called blood pressure.
To measure blood pressure, two numbers are used:
- The first number is a measurement of the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats, or pumps out blood. This measurement is called systolic [sis-TALL-ik] blood pressure.
- The second number is the measurement of pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between the beats. This measurement is called diastolic [DIE-uh-STALL-ik] blood pressure.
For example, if the measurement is 110 systolic and 70 diastolic, it is said as “120 over 70,” or written as “110/70 mm Hg.” A healthy blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mm Hg.
What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is called hypertension. A pressure measurement higher than 120/80 mm Hgis considered hypertension. Your blood pressure changes during the day based on your activities; however, if you are having frequent blood pressure measurements above normal, you may have high blood pressure.
Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure often has no warning signs or symptoms. Many people do not know they have it and may only find out when they visit a healthcare professional and have the blood pressure measured during check in. Measuring your blood pressure is the only way to truly know if you have high blood pressure.
Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
Different healthcare professionals may use similar, but not the same, guidelines to diagnose high blood pressure. Each may differ a little:
- High blood pressure consistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher, based on a guideline released in 2003.
- High blood pressure consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher, based on a guideline released in 2017.
Either way, once you’ve been diagnosed, your healthcare provider will discuss treatment options with you.
What are the Risks of High Blood Pressure?
The higher your blood pressure, the higher you risk other health problems, such as:
- Chest pain, also known as angina
- Heart disease: damage your arteries, making them less elastic, decreasing the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart, leading to heart disease
- Heart attack: blood supply to your heart is blocked leading to heart muscle death due to lack of oxygen; the longer blood flow is blocked, the more damage to the heart
- Heart failure: you heart is not able to pump enough blood and oxygen to other body organs, causing organ damage
- Stroke: speech problems, movement problems, death
- Eyes: glaucoma
- Brain damage: poorer cognitive function and dementia later in life
- Kidney damage and disease
How to Prevent High Blood Pressure
By making a few lifestyle changes, there are ways every day you can work to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider before making any major changes or beginning an exercise program.
These strategies are proven to help prevent high blood pressure:
- Get at least 150 minutes total of physical activity each week; about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, but you can break it up however best fits your schedule
- No smoking or quit smoking
- Eat a healthy diet—talk to your doctor about creating a diet plan; they may refer you to a nutritionist
- Limit sodium (salt) intake
- Limit alcohol drinking
- Maintain a healthy weight (ask your doctor or other healthcare professional if you do not know if your weight is healthy)
- Manage stress—there are many strategies for stress reduction available in books and online, or through your healthcare provider
- Get enough sleep—a minimum of seven hours per night
Besides making these positive lifestyle changes, you may need to take medicine to manage your blood pressure. There are various medications available. Your doctor will help choose one that works best for you if medication is required.
By taking action as early as possible to lower your blood pressure, you are helping protect yourself against cardiovascular disease (heart disease and related complications, such as stroke).
Talk with your doctor or a healthcare professional right away if you think you have high blood pressure or know you have high blood pressure that is not under control. Jai Medical Systems has the support and tools you need to stay healthy. Call our Customer Service Representatives at 1-888-JAI-1999 to learn more.