3 Things to Know About Your Blood Pressure

blood pressureGetting your blood pressure checked regularly is an important part of staying healthy

Anyone who has ever visited a healthcare professional knows what it’s like to have your blood pressure measured. But did you ever think that the blood pressure cuff that hugs your arm could actually save your life? Knowing about your blood pressure is very important to your overall health, and treating high blood pressure can help you prevent serious and sometimes life-threatening consequences. Below are some important things to know about your blood pressure.

1. Why your blood pressure matters

High blood pressure can be fatal. Yet it is a condition that has no symptoms. You could have high blood pressure and not even know it. That is why it is so important to get regular check-ups. If you have high blood pressure and do not treat it, it can lead to these possible consequences:

  • Heart and coronary artery damage, including heart attack, heart disease, congestive heart failure,
  • Damage to your coronary arteries, including aortic dissection and atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries)
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Angina
  • Stroke
  • Kidney damage
  • Loss of vision
  • Fluid in your lungs
  • Memory loss
  • Erectile dysfunction

Luckily there are treatments available for high blood pressure, as well as lifestyle changes than can help control your blood pressure. If your doctor diagnoses you with high blood pressure, be sure to follow your doctor’s advice for treating it and controlling it.

2. How you know if you have high blood pressure

Since there are no symptoms of high blood pressure, it is important that you have your blood pressure measured every time you visit a healthcare professional. The American Heart Association recommends that if your blood pressure is below 120/80 mmHg, you should get your blood pressure checked at least every two years. If it is higher, your doctor may want you to get it checked more frequently.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or above most of the time. What do the numbers in a the blood pressure reading mean? The top number (systolic) measures the pressure in the arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number (diastolic) measures the pressure in the arteries in between your heart beats.

3. What can you do to help prevent or control high blood pressure?

The American Heart Association recommends several ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle that can help prevent or control high blood pressure. They are:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Keep moving! Get regular exercise
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Learn how to manage your stress
  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • If on medication, take your medications as prescribed

Find out more

To find out more about this topic, you can visit the American Heart Association’s webpages dedicated to high blood pressure. The site includes information about diagnosis, risk factors, monitoring, treatment and management, and prevention.

We hope this article has been helpful to you in understanding blood pressure and why it is important to monitor.

This article was provided by the Harris School of Business. The Harris School specializes in training students for careers in the field of allied health.  Our programs include medical assistant training, dental assistant training, medical billing and coding training, and more. For more information, visit our homepage at harrisschool.edu.