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High Blood Pressure Screenings

High blood pressure (HBP), also called hypertension, is a serious condition that has proven to be quite dangerous or even fatal if left untreated.  Blood pressure, under normal conditions, is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. But, when that pressure rises and remains high, over time, it can be very damaging to the body causing a myriad of issues such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other pesky health problems.

Causes of HBP

HBP can be hereditary, caused by environmental conditions or due to an individual’s lifestyle, which include: a person’s age; ethnicity or gender; being overweight; poor eating habits; a family history; long-lasting stress; and having prehypertension.

How to find out if you have HBP

Although some people with early-stage high blood pressure may experience warning signs of slight headaches, dizziness or nosebleeds, these symptoms may not occur until blood pressure has reached dangerously high levels. But, the sure way to find out if you have HBP is by regular visits to your doctor and having your blood pressure checked. Your doctor will give you a reading of a higher number over a lower number, resembling that of a fraction. The systolic, the higher number on top, is the pressure used when the heart is beating. The diastolic, the lower number on the bottom, is the pressure used when the heart is resting between heart beats. A normal pressure reading is somewhere around 120 over 80 (120/80). When the pressure reading reaches 140 (or higher) over 90 (or higher), the individual may be at risk of hypertension.

Helpful Tips to Prevent and Treat HBP

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can make you more prone to high blood pressure. Small amounts of weight loss can make a big difference in helping to treat and prevent high blood pressure.
  • Regular exercise. People who are physically active have a 20% to 50% lower risk of getting high blood pressure than people who are inactive. Light physical activity on a daily basis can help lower your risk.
  • Reduce salt intake. Cutting back on salt also prevents blood pressure from rising.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. To help prevent high blood pressure, limit your alcohol consumption. According to the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans," for overall good health, people should limit their alcohol intake to about one drink per day.
  • Reduce Stress. Stress can make blood pressure go up, and over time, can contribute to the cause of high blood pressure.
  • Stop Smoking. Smoking can significantly raise your blood pressure as well as cause other health problems.

Helpful resources:

High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet: Center for Disease Control

How to Prevent High Blood Pressure: Center for Disease Control