According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure. However, it’s often called “the silent killer” because it’s a condition many people don’t realize they have. Oftentimes, signs and symptoms are misunderstood. It’s a condition that slowly builds up over time, meaning it can sneak up on you. While there is no cure for blood pressure that is high, there are a number of changes you can make to reduce the severity of the condition.
What is high blood pressure?
The American Heart Association defines high blood pressure, also called HBP or hypertension, as when your blood pressure, the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently too high.
But what number is too high? What is considered normal blood pressure? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some healthcare professionals diagnose HBP when blood pressure is consistently 140/90, while other healthcare professionals diagnose when blood pressure is consistently 130/80 per 2017 guidelines.
Having high blood pressure can be a precursor to larger heart issues including heart disease and heart attack. As mentioned earlier, there is no cure, but with some lifestyle changes, you can lower blood pressure levels and risks for other heart conditions.
5 methods to lower your blood pressure
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can increase the risk for HBP, which is why experts say it’s beneficial to stay in the weight range that’s best for your body. Everybody is different, and talking to your healthcare provider can help you understand what your healthy weight range is.
- Stay active. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has guidance for how people of various ages can stay active. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the thought of increased physical activity, but there are plenty of easy ways to sneak in some extra movement on a daily basis. Some easy examples include:
- Parking farther away when running errands
- Standing or walking during meetings
- Slowly increasing the distance you walk around the neighborhood each time
- Balance your diet. Not only does eating a balanced diet help with tip #1, but a balanced diet helps your body perform at its best. Reducing sodium, processed foods, and saturated fats all help with lowering blood pressure.
- Consider a four-legged family member. Did you know that having a pet can make you healthier? The American Heart Association gathered various research that shows having pets can lead to better health. For example, dog owners may experience weight loss or better cardiovascular health since they are typically more active by going on walks or throwing a ball around.
- Medication. In some cases, healthcare providers may prescribe a blood pressure medication. Typically, medication would be introduced in addition to lifestyle changes. The American Heart Association has some key information you’ll want to know before talking to your healthcare provider about blood pressure medication.
How to manage your blood pressure
High blood pressure can be tracked at home with the help of a blood pressure monitor and with guidance from your healthcare provider. In your journey to reducing blood pressure, you may also need blood tests, which can be drawn at home thanks to Scarlet®. Easily schedule an appointment online, and a trained Scarlet Health Professional will visit you at home for a blood draw, and take the sample to BioReference Laboratories for testing.