What You Need To Know About: High Blood Pressure

This is the first entry in a six part series brought to you by Healthy Blue LivingSM, a highly successful health care plan that rewards people who commit to making better health choices by focusing on six high-impact measures of health. Healthy Blue Living is celebrating its Fifth Anniversary by inviting YOU to make a pledge and tell us what you will do over the next five years to improve your health.

Most people know that high blood pressure is bad, but unless you’ve spoken to your doctor about it or had a friend or family member with high blood pressure, it’s likely you don’t know the real impact it can have on your health. For an example, read Steve McDonald’s inspirational story about dealing with high blood pressure.

Here’s what you need to know:

High Blood Pressure is Common

About 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. By itself, high blood pressure often has no symptoms, and you can have it for years without knowing it. During this time, high blood pressure can damage your heart and other parts of your body, including blood vessels, kidneys and other organs.

Know Your Blood Pressure

Knowledge is power, and you can find out if you have high blood pressure by visiting your doctor’s office. Most doctors will diagnose high blood pressure based on two or more readings taken over time, and a consistent reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high blood pressure.

Healthy Blue Living Connection

Healthy Blue Living members need to work with their doctor to keep their blood pressure below 140 over 90 to earn the enhanced benefit level with lower out-of-pocket costs.

Prevention is Key

If your blood pressure is normal, you can work with your doctor to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep it that way. Blood pressure oftentimes rises with age, and the steps to preventing high blood pressure also correlate with living a healthy life, including:

  • Healthy eating
  • Reducing sodium in your diet
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting and staying physically active
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Quitting smoking

Get Treatment

If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to take steps to fix the problem. The same healthy lifestyle habits that help prevent high blood pressure can also help treat it, but if these changes are not enough to keep your blood pressure under control, you may need to add blood pressure medications to your regimen. Always work with your doctor to plan your blood pressure treatment.

Blood pressure medical information used in this blog post came from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Photo source: Nursenightandday.com

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