High blood pressure

Use the three steps below to begin your journey to Best Health.

1. Know this

Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. Your blood pressure consists of two numbers: systolic and diastolic. The systolic number shows how hard the blood pushes when the heart is pumping. The diastolic number shows how hard the blood pushes between heartbeats, when the heart is relaxed and filling with blood.

High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. Adults should have a blood pressure of less than 120/80. When blood pressure is high, it starts to damage the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is called a “silent killer,” because it doesn’t usually cause symptoms while it is causing this damage.

2. Do this

Several things are known to raise blood pressure, including being very overweight, drinking too much alcohol, having a family history of high blood pressure, eating too much salt and getting older. Making lifestyle changes can help you to prevent high blood pressure. You can:

  • Stay at a healthy weight or lose extra weight.
  • Cut back on drinking. Limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
  • Eat less salt and salty foods.

3. Use this

Check out the following Best Health offerings to help you achieve a healthy blood pressure.

  • Healthy weight health coachingEnroll in free health coaching and work one-on-one with a Best Health Coach.  
  • Online blood pressure log – Monitor your blood pressure levels over time.
  • Online hypertension workshop – Learn more about hypertension in this 12-week online workshop.

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Source: Healthwise. High Blood Pressure. Medical Reviewer: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD – Cardiology. © 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Last Revised 3/12/14.