Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition that can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. One in every three adult Americans have high blood pressure1.

Most people aren’t aware they could have high blood pressure because it doesn’t usually cause symptoms; however, left untreated, the long-term effects can be devastating.

Optima Health can help.

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  • Quick Facts

    The blood pumping through your circulatory system is under pressure. Hypertension occurs when the force of the pressure is abnormally high. Your blood pressure normally increases with age, and you are more likely at risk for hypertension once you reach age 45, although it can develop in younger people.

    Blood pressure is measured using an arm cuff that is inflated and sensors read the pressure of your blood beating against the arteries, in the form of two numbers. Your systolic pressure is the force in the arteries when the heart beats, and is the higher of the two. The second, diastolic, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. A normal blood pressure reading is about 120/80 for an adult; and it’s normal for blood pressure to fluctuate depending on physical activity or emotional state at time of reading.

    Elevated blood pressure can cause a lot of problems, including:

    • heart failure
    • kidney failure
    • stroke
    • vision problems and blindness
    • damage to blood vessels
    • damage to brain
  • Risk Factors

    Hypertension can be related to family history, genetics, health conditions like diabetes, medications, or your lifestyle. Excess sodium in your diet, stress, not enough physical activity, and obesity are common risk factors.

  • Prevention and Treatment

    Despite the statistics, hypertension is preventable and treatable. Medication has proven to be an effective treatment. There are several types of blood pressure medications available, including diuretics, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors and more. If you need medication, speak with your physician to learn which will work best for you.

    You can help prevent hypertension by:

    • eating healthy
    • getting plenty of exercise
    • losing weight
    • quitting smoking
    • quitting or reducing alcohol intake
  • Self-Monitoring Toolkit

    If your physician recommends you monitor your blood pressure yourself, it’s important to know how to do it correctly. The American Heart Association offers instruction, resources, and tips to help you learn the correct way to check your blood pressure.

  • Additional Resources

1 WebMD®, www.webmd.com/men/guide/high-blood-pressure