The Low-Down on High Blood Pressure
It‚Äôs estimated that one in three American adults suffers from high blood pressure, a condition that increases the risk for heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is often called the ‚ÄúSilent Killer‚Äù because it can go undetected for years. Indeed, almost one-third of people who have high blood pressure don‚Äôt know that they do. That‚Äôs the reason it‚Äôs so important to have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis by your physician.
Blood pressure is a measure of the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. High blood pressure occurs when the arteries become constricted and the pressure exceeds 140/90 for an extended period of time. A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80. The first number measures the blood pressure when the heart contracts or ‚Äúpumps;” the second number measures the blood pressure when the heart is at rest.
Fortunately, hypertension is a treatable condition. Lifestyle modifications can play an important role. Eating a healthy diet, participating in a regular exercise program, quitting smoking and losing weight are ways you can take control if you have high blood pressure. For more serious cases, a large range of medicines are now available that can lower your blood pressure.