If you were just under the threshold for high blood pressure at your last check up, you may now be over–even if your numbers haven’t changed a bit. That’s because last fall, new guidelines redefined high blood pressure, previously been set at 140 over 90, as 130 over 80.1
What is hypertension – and why you should know your numbers
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, doubles your risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, among others.1,2 The American Heath Association estimates that nearly half of all adults in the U.S. have hypertension.
You don’t need to wait for your annual physical to know your numbers–you can check your numbers for free at places such as your local Health Mart pharmacy or purchase an inexpensive monitor to check at home.
Don’t wait — call 911
Because the symptoms may often be mistaken for something less serious, women experiencing them frequently dismiss the symptoms as belonging to common ailments like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging,3 delaying calling for help. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, do not wait, and do not drive yourself to the hospital — call 911 right away.
A silent killer
High blood pressure doesn’t always cause obvious symptoms. Signs to watch for include mild, long-lasting headaches or “brain fog.” A hypertensive crisis can cause a crushing headache–if you have one, go to the emergency room right away. Other less common symptoms include bloating, decreased urination, sudden vision loss, dizziness, or trouble keeping your balance. If you have concerns, play it safe and schedule an appointment to see your physician.2
Lower your risk
Like many illnesses and diseases, you can inherit a higher risk for hypertension. If a close relative has it–your parents, siblings or grandparents–you may be at higher risk. If any of them had a heart attack at a young age, be sure to let your doctor know so that you can be closely monitored for warning signs.2
While you can’t change your genes, you can reduce your risk and/or lower your blood pressure readings. Diet and exercise are a great place to start – 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week is a good first step.
Just a DASH
Eating well and limiting your salt intact can also have a beneficial impact. The U.S. News and World Report rated the DASH diet the best “overall” diet among nearly 40 it reviewed.1 Focused on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins, when combined with a diet low in salt, DASH can be very effective at managing blood pressure. Within just two weeks, it can lower blood pressure a few points—with a drop of eight to 14 points over time. DASH can also lower blood cholesterol.3
Talk to your pharmacist
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help lower your blood pressure, especially if you have other risk factors. If you have questions about the medications you have been prescribed or concerns about side effects, be sure to talk to your Health Mart pharmacist who can work with your physician to find the medication that works for you.