Guest Post by Carrington College
Understanding High Blood Pressure
When blood flows through your arteries, it puts pressure on the surrounding walls as it moves. This is referred to as blood pressure, which is a measurement that doctors and nurses routinely take. When you have your blood pressure checked, your doctor or nurse is seeing if it’s too high, which can put your health at risk. Knowing more about high blood pressure can help you understand how it affects your body. The staff at Carrington College created the following infographic with more detailed information on this condition.
Blood Pressure Readings
When you have your blood pressure taken, it produces a reading that contains two numbers. The number at the top, called systolic, shows how much pressure is in your arteries while your heart is beating. The bottom number, called diastolic, indicates how much pressure there is between heartbeats. A normal reading is 120 over 80, and anything higher than that is cause for concern.
High Blood Pressure Statistics
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute estimates that high blood pressure occurs in about one-third of adults in the US, making this a common condition. Roughly 52 percent of those diagnosed with this high blood pressure are able to manage it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also estimates that one in five adults aren’t aware that they have this condition.
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
Certain factors can increase your risk of having high blood pressure, including gender, weight and age. High blood pressure occurs in men more often than women up to age 44, but at age 65 and up, more women than men are diagnosed with it. Being obese, eating an unhealthy diet and not being physically active also make you more likely to have high blood pressure. Other risk factors include regular alcohol use and family history of high blood pressure.
Effects of High Blood Pressure
Having a higher amount of pressure in your arteries as your blood flows through can cause serious health effects, including organ damage. High blood pressure can hurt your kidneys, eyes, heart and brain. It raises your risk of having heart problems, blood clots and stroke. Since symptoms don’t often show up until damage has been done, it’s important for high blood pressure to be diagnosed early.
Managing High Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, there are several effective ways to manage this condition and keep your numbers under control. Switching to a low-salt, high-fiber diet that includes a lot of fresh produce can help. Working out for 30 minutes or more a day for at least five days a week can also help you manage high blood pressure. Taking prescription medications and reducing stress are other ways to help keep high blood pressure under control.