Your Blood Pressure Range: How to Track and Control It
One in three Americans has high blood pressure a.k.a. hypertension. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tell us that nearly 1,000 people die from high blood pressure every day. Almost 67 million Americans have high blood pressure and more than half of them do not have it under control. This is a serious issue because high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the United States.
Hypertension has no symptoms, so you must check your blood pressure range – or have it checked - every two years if you’re over 18 years old and get it checked frequently after age 40.
People at an increased risk for high blood pressure range:
- People who have a family history of high blood pressure
- People who are overweight or obese
- People who smoke
- People who eat a lot of salty foods
- People who do not get enough exercise
- People who drink regularly; that is, women who consume more than one alcoholic beverage per day and men who drink two or more
Think back to the last time you had your blood pressure checked and note that blood pressure machines are now available at many malls, pharmacies and grocery stores. The CDC recommends keeping records of your blood pressure readings between doctor visits.
Blood pressure ranges
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries.
- Normal blood pressure range is less than 120 over 80 – or 120/80
- High blood pressure range is 140/90 or higher
Blood pressure between normal and high is considered prehypertension, or "high normal" blood pressure
If you're in the high or high normal ranges, it's important to consult with your doctor, take any prescribed medications and work to lower your blood pressure. If you smoke, it’s a good idea to stop; if you don't smoke, don't start. Reduce your salt intake, eat healthy, exercise and lose weight.
Here are some other tips to lower your blood pressure range
Consuming less salt and sodium: Choosemyplate.gov offers tips for cutting back. You can reduce salt and sodium by choosing fresh foods over highly processed foods (like pizza, cured meats, and bacon), cooking at home more and eating out less, putting the salt shaker out of sight, filling up on fruits and vegetables, reading labels and more:
Eating healthier foods: The American Heart Association's website offers Healthy Diet Goals that include limiting consumption of processed meats, saturated fat, sodium and sugar sweetened beverages; and eating at least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day, three 1 ounce servings of fiber rich whole grains per day, at least two 3.5 ounce servings of fish per week, four servings of nuts, legumes and seeds per week.
Increasing physical activity: According to Physical Activity at ChooseMyPlate.gov, adults between 18 and 64 years of age should be getting at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week; 5 hours or more is better.
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