At Healthy Partners Primary Care of Ft. Lauderdale, we understand the importance of checking blood pressure on a regular basis. Known as the ‘silent killer,’ high blood pressure often has no symptoms and causes 60,000 deaths per year. If you or a loved one are concerned about high blood pressure, make an appointment today at any Healthy Partners Primary Care location.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is measured by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. It is normal for blood pressure to change throughout the day but it is abnormal if it gets too high consistently. The medical term for this common and dangerous condition is hypertension.
Blood pressure has two numbers and it is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Healthcare workers use a gauge, stethoscope or electronic sensor, and a blood pressure cuff to measure:
- Systolic Pressure: blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood
- Diastolic Pressure: blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats
For adults, normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. Prehypertension, when your readings are at or above 120/80 mm Hg, can lead to high blood pressure. And you more than likely suffer from high blood pressure if your readings are consistently at or above 140/90 mm Hg.
Am I at Risk For High Blood Pressure?
Although anyone can develop high blood pressure, there are many risk factors to consider, including:
- Age. About 65 percent of Americans over the age of 60 have high blood pressure. Although blood pressure tends to rise with age, younger children and teens can suffer from prehypertension due to climbing obesity rates.
- Race/Ethnicity. High blood pressure as well as serious complications such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure is more common in African-Americans.
- Gender. Women 65 and older are more likely to develop high blood pressure; however the condition affects more men than women before 64 years of age.
- Weight. The more you weigh, the harder you heart will have to pump blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. Blood pressure will increase to keep up with the demand.
- Lifestyle. Too much sodium, too little potassium, drinking more than two alcoholic drinks per day and not enough exercise all play a role in rising blood pressure.
- Family history. Genetic factors can raise the risk of developing prehypertension or high blood pressure.
Too many Americans struggle with high blood pressure increasing their risk for a stroke, heart attack or heart failure. Your Healthy Partners Primary care physician can monitor your blood pressure and work with you to prevent or treat this dangerous condition.
- Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and then discuss how you can reach your goal.
- Take your blood pressure medication as directed.
- Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
- Participate in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week.
- Eat a healthy diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in sodium, saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol.
- Check your blood pressure regularly.
- Manage stress.
You can have high blood pressure and not know it. That is why it is called the silent killer. It is also why it is so important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. If you or a loved one is concerned about possible symptoms or would like to learn more about lowering or maintaining a healthy blood pressure, please contact your Healthy Partners Primary Care medical office to schedule an appointment.