Whether you are a patient or a family caregiver, understanding how blood pressure can affect your health is important. According to the CDC, about 68 million people are living with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, in the United States. During High Blood Pressure Education Month in May, take a moment to understand the causes and risks of high blood pressure and understand blood pressure readings to monitor your health.
High blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke – two of the leading causes of death in the United States. High blood pressure is also a major risk factor for other diseases such as congestive heart failure and kidney disease. Also known as a “silent killer,” high blood pressure can go undetected because it often does not have any signs or symptoms, which underscore the importance to check your blood pressure regularly.
The American Heart Association notes that high blood pressure is a widely misunderstood medical condition. Some people think that those with high blood pressure are tense, nervous or hyperactive, but high blood pressure has nothing to do with personality traits. The truth is, you can be a calm, relaxed person and still have high blood pressure.
So, by keeping your blood pressure in the healthy range, you are:
- Reducing your risk of your vascular walls becoming overstretched and injured
- Reducing your risk of your heart having to pump harder to compensate for blockages
- Protecting your entire body so that your tissue receives regular supplies of blood that is rich in the oxygen it needs
Check out the American Heart Association’s website for more information on what blood pressure numbers mean and a helpful chart describing blood pressure categories. Although this information is provided to raise awareness about high blood pressure, always seek medical advice from your primary care physician or health care provider.
Remember, understanding your medical and health-related needs can help to promote a healthier lifestyle.