High Blood Pressure: Just the Facts

What is high blood pressure?
The force at which blood presses against the walls of your arteries is known as blood pressure. Normally an individual’s blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day. But for some it is always high. Those are people with high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can cause severe damage to your heart, your eyes, and your kidneys. It increases your chances of having a stroke, contracting atherosclerosis, or developing heart disease.

So what are the symptoms?
High blood pressure is known as “the silent killer” because you can have it for years without realizing it. In fact, a third of Americans with hypertension don’t even know they have it. The only way to find out is to have your blood pressure taken.

How do I prevent or treat it?
Oddly enough, the steps for preventing high blood pressure are the same as the steps for treating high blood pressure. First and foremost is to have your blood pressure taken at least once a year by a health care professional. This is more important every year as everyone’s blood pressure rises naturally over their lifetime. Other suggestions include:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Stop smoking and drinking.
  • Eat a healthier, salt-free diet.
  • Reduce your stress level.
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight.
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