Also known as high blood pressure, Hypertension is a common condition affecting about 75 million Americans. It occurs when the force of blood against artery walls becomes too great from increase in blood flow or narrow arteries. Over time this condition can damage blood vessels and your heart, and lead to more serious issues like heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.
Congenital defects, or heart defects you’re born with, thyroid or kidney problems, drug and alcohol abuse, and certain medications can lead to high blood pressure.
Do You Have Hypertension?
Hypertension does not come with specific, identifiable symptoms like other conditions. Pay attention to your blood pressure readings especially if you are 18-39 and have a history of high blood pressure, or you are above the age of 40. A blood pressure reading includes two numbers: the top number is the systolic pressure, which measures the pressure when your heart beats and the bottom (or second) number is the diastolic pressure and measures the pressure between heartbeats. Blood pressure does vary throughout the day, and may change depending on size of the inflatable arm cuff, the difference between arms, short-term stress, and age.
- Normal blood pressure is below 120 systolic/80 diastolic mm Hg.
- Prehypertension occurs when the systolic pressure is between 120-139 mm Hg, or the diastolic pressure is between 80-89 mm Hg.
- Stage 1 Hypertension is when the systolic pressure is between 140-159 mm Hg, or the diastolic pressure is between 90-99 mm Hg.
- Stage 2 Hypertension is when the systolic pressure of 160 or higher, or a diastolic pressure of 100 or higher.
Typically hypertension affects African-Americans more commonly than any other race.Those who are overweight or obese, inactive, have high stress, vitamin deficiencies, or frequent drug and alcohol users are more susceptible to developing high blood pressure.
What Should You Do?
You can improve your lifestyle by adhering to a healthy diet, reducing your salt intake, exercising regularly, not smoking, limiting alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight, managing your stress, and if needed, taking prescription medication if suggested by your doctor. Research more about what hypertension is and what you can do by visiting the American Heart Association’s website.
Regardless of how informed you are, we know unexpected health situations occur. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Visit https://nec24.com/ to find the Neighbors Emergency Center nearest you!