Known as the “silent killer,” high blood pressure (HBP) often shows no obvious symptoms. There are over 3 million cases of high blood pressure per year and it is most common in people over the age of 65. If you have high blood pressure, you are not alone. Nearly half of American adults have HBP. If you are unsure if you have high blood pressure, the best way to find out is to get it checked. High blood pressure or hypertension means the pressure in your arteries is elevated. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. When left untreated, the high blood pressure forcing through your circulatory system can put you are greater risk for heart attack, stroke, and other health risks.
Those at a higher risk:
- Have relatives with HBP
- African Americans
- Are over the age of 35
- Overweight individuals
- Aren’t physically active
- Eat too much salt
- Drink too much alcohol
- Have diabetes, gout, or kidney disease
- Are pregnant
- Taking birth control
Taking your medication:
- You may be prescribed multiple medications.
- Medicine is most effective when taken regularly.
- Ceasing to take medication without consulting your physician can be dangerous.
- Even after your blood pressure is lowered, you may still need to take medicine – perhaps over a lifetime, to keep a normal blood pressure.
Remembering to take medications:
- Take them at the same time daily.
- Take with meals or other reoccurring daily events.
- Use a weekly pill box.
- Use a calendar.
- Leave notes to remind yourself.
- Weakness, tiredness, or drowsiness
- Cold hands and feet
- Depression, sluggishness, trouble sleeping, nightmares
- Slow or fast heartbeat
- Skin rash
- Loss of taste or dry mouth
- Dry, constant cough, stuffy nose, or asthma symptoms
- Ankle swelling, leg cramps, or joint aches
- Headache, dizziness or swelling around the eyes
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Fever or anemia
Preventing high blood pressure:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Increase physical activity.
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods.
- Consume less salt.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Avoid smoking.