Heart Health Is Something Everyone Can Love!

Almost 1 in 2 adults has high blood pressure (aka Hypertension) However, only 1 in 4 people has it under control (<130/80 mm Hg)

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase an individual’s risk for heart attack, stroke, heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease, pregnancy complications, and sometimes memory loss later in life.

Other conditions such as diabetes, unhealthy diet, and being overweight also increase risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.

What is high blood pressure ?

The heart pumps blood through tubes known as arteries which take blood out to parts of the body.

Veins return the blood back to the heart. When the heart pumps blood through the arteries, it puts pressure on the artery walls.

Too much pressure is hypertension, better known as high blood pressure. High blood pressure in the arteries can put added stress on the heart (which can lead to heart attack and heart disease) and increase the risk of a stroke, in addition to other health challenges.

do the numbers mean?

Blood pressure is read as one number over the other.

The higher both numbers get indicates the greater the pressure in the arteries, and the greater the pressure the higher the risk for poor health outcomes.

That’s why it’s important for individuals to know their numbers and then get the education to make informed decisions about how to improve blood pressure.

The systolic pressure

The top number measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts or squeezes

The diastolic pressure

The bottom number measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes in between beats

In both of these categories it is common for doctors to prescribe medication in addition to lifestyle changes.

Below is a chart on blood pressure categories. When blood pressure is ‘Elevated’ or in ‘Hypertension Stage 1’ it’s important to talk with a doctor about lifestyle changes to improve blood pressure. When blood pressure is ‘Hypertension Stage 2’ or ‘Hypertensive crisis’ it’s imperative to speak with a doctor or seek medical care.

Top number (systolic) in mm Hg And/or Bottom number (diastolic) in mm Hg Blood pressure category What to do
Below 120 and Below 80 Normal blood pressure Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle.
120-129 and Below 80 Elevated blood pressure Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle.
130-139 or 80-89 Stage 1 high blood pressure (hypertension) Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your provider
140 or higher or 90 or higher Stage 2 high blood pressure (hypertension) Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your provider

The good news is that there are several things a person can do to improve
heart health and blood pressure.

Know the Numbers

Find out your blood pressure see what blood pressure category you are in. Then, talk with your doctor about your blood pressure risk and your family health history. Monitoring blood pressure at home is a key way to know the numbers and make informed decisions about heart health.

Make Healthy Food Choices

Adding foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and low-fat diary lower risks and improve heart health. Also, eating less salt, saturated fats, and added sugars can make a big impact on heart health. The BP for Me program is facilitated by a registered dietitian who discusses heart healthy eating habits everyone can work into their lifestyle.

Move More and Sit Less

Adding any movement into your week and decreasing the amount of sitting can improve health. The recommendation is 150 minutes of physical activity every week. That doesn’t mean one needs to run a marathon or break a sweat at the gym- walking at a moderate pace for 10 minutes after each meal (at least 3 meals a day) for 5 days a week will easily get someone to complete 150 minutes a week.

Quit Smoking

There are some immediate health benefits when someone quits smoking including blood pressure and heart rate recover from nicotine-induced spikes. Long term benefits include reduced risk of lung cancer, coronary artery disease, bladder cancer, mouth cancers, and other cancers (some risks cut in half by quitting smoking). For more information call (813) 559-4760 or visit Hillsborough | Tobacco Free Florida.

Rethink Your Drink

Consider substituting water for sugary or high calorie drinks. Also, consider the number of alcoholic drinks consumed. Alcohol also adds liquid calories (that many people don’t think about) and it can raise your blood pressure. In addition, alcohol can make it more difficult for medications to work properly.

Blood pressure control

is possible…let our experts show you how.

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