A frightening truth: An estimated 103 million Americans have high blood pressure. That’s nearly half of all American adults.
An even scarier statistic: Millions of people don’t know they have high blood pressure or aren’t taking action against it. In fact, 64% of Americans don’t know what constitutes high blood pressure.
In an effort to help educate people about high blood pressure, Tim Martin, MD, dishes out the facts about this disease and how to know if you have it.
Know your blood pressure numbers
Your blood pressure consists of two numbers: systolic (pressure when your heart contracts) and diastolic (pressure when your heart rests between beats). The systolic number is the top number in a blood pressure reading. Blood pressure is categorized as follows:
- Normal: less than 120 systolic AND less than 80 diastolic
- Elevated: 120-129 systolic AND less than 80 diastolic
- High blood pressure stage one: 130-139 systolic OR 80-89 diastolic
- High blood pressure stage two: 140+ systolic OR 90+ diastolic
- High blood pressure stage three: 180+ systolic AND/OR 120+ diastolic
How to know if you have high blood pressure
The only surefire way to determine whether you have high blood pressure — also called hypertension — is to check your numbers. Often called the “silent killer,” hypertension usually manifests without a single symptom.
However, you should be aware of several risk factors that may contribute to or be related to high blood pressure, including:
- Unhealthy diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High cholesterol
- Sleep apnea
- Overconsumption of alcohol
- Tobacco use
- Family history
You should get checked for high blood pressure at least annually, during your yearly wellness exam. However, if you’re at a higher risk of hypertension due to personal or family health history, make an effort to get checked, or check yourself, as often as once a month or even once a week. There are many at-home blood pressure monitors on the market that make checking your blood pressure quick and easy.
Treatment for high blood pressure
High blood pressure treatments vary depending on the severity of your case. Everyone with hypertension, regardless of severity, can benefit from positive lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and reducing stress levels.
If you have hypertension that can’t be solved with lifestyle changes alone, Dr. Martin may prescribe a medication that can help keep your blood pressure under control.
If you have high blood pressure or think you might, call our Abilene, Texas, office today at 325-268-1230 to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online.