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Ways to manage high blood pressure

Alicia Colombo

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a symptomless “silent killer” that quietly damages blood vessels and leads to serious health problems. There is no cure for hypertension. However, using medications as prescribed and making lifestyle changes can enhance your quality of life and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and other conditions, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Know your numbers
Is your blood pressure in a healthy range? The best way to know is to get your blood pressure checked by a medical professional.

If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should monitor your blood pressure regularly. Knowing your blood pressure numbers can alert you to any changes and help you detect patterns. Tracking your results over time will also reveal if the changes you’ve made are working.

Here’s what the blood pressure numbers mean:

  • Normal blood pressure: Lower than 120 systolic (upper number) AND lower than 80 diastolic (lower
  • number).
  • Elevated blood pressure: 120-129 systolic AND lower than 80 diastolic.
  • Hypertension stage 1: 130-139 systolic OR 80-89 diastolic.
  • Hypertension stage 2: 140 or higher, OR 90 or higher diastolic.
  • Hypertensive crisis – Consult your doctor immediately: Higher than 180 systolic and/or higher than 120 diastolic.

Managing blood pressure is a lifelong commitment. To help keep your blood pressure in the normal range, the American Heart Association recommends making the following lifestyle changes:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet that’s low in salt.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Enjoy regular physical activity.
  • Manage stress.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Take your medications properly.

If you have high blood pressure, it’s vital that you listen to your health care professional. Remember: You’re a part of your health care team. You and your health care professional are partners.

Educate yourself about hypertension and learn how to monitor your blood pressure at home. Armed with this information, you can commit to a heart-healthy lifestyle and reap these benefits:

  • Prevent, reduce or delay the development of high blood pressure.
  • Enhance the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
  • Lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney damage, vision loss and sexual dysfunction.

(Source: The American Heart Association – 1-800-AHA-USA-1 (242-8721) |

Categories: Health Milestones eNews


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