Let’s Talk Blood Pressure
Nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, and don’t even know it. This is because high blood pressure is a symptomless condition. It damages blood vessels and over time, can cause serious health problems.
“Annual wellness appointments are the perfect opportunity to ask your physician about your blood pressure,” says Antonio Escobedo MD, an Internal Medicine doctor with PIH Health Physicians. “If you have a normal reading, you will want to stick to your healthy habits. If your reading is high, you will want to discuss lifestyle changes, and potentially medications, with your doctor.”
There are two numbers in your reading, systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number). Normal levels are lower than 120/80. High blood pressure is 130/80 or higher. To better understand your blood pressure range, the American Heart Association created the chart below.
Those who are in the elevated category should monitor their blood pressure regularly and should work with their primary care physician on healthy lifestyle changes and dietary modifications such as heart healthy food options low fat and low cholesterol foods, etc. to take control and manage their blood pressure. People who are diagnosed with high blood pressure, hypertension stage 1 and above, will be referred to a heart care specialist who can provide treatment based on specific needs.
Talk to your doctor about any family history of high blood pressure. This will give your doctor an idea of the type of preventative care you will need. Other lifestyle changes you can make to maintain normal blood pressure range are:
- Eat low salt/sodium foods
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Exercise/get regular physical activity
- Do no smoke
- See your doctor on a regular basis
- Develop a heart healthy lifestyle
If you have high blood pressure, you can manage it and take control with the proper tools and regular visits with your doctor. PIH Health offers blood pressure screenings at its pharmacy locations. Visit PIHHealth.org/Pharmacy to find a pharmacy near you.