Do You Know Enough About Blood Pressure?
The only way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked. Some estimates reflect that one in four Americans has high blood pressure; however, since there are no symptoms, nearly one-third of these people do not know.
Blood pressure is commonly associated with narrowing of the arteries, which causes the heart and blood vessels to overwork. Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers - the systolic pressure (as the heart beats) over the diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats). The measurement is written with the systolic number on top and the diastolic number on the bottom.
"Fortunately, we have the ability to lower our blood pressure through lifestyle modifications and medication," said Mary Pfenning, RN, Community Outreach. "It is so easy and important to have your blood pressure checked regularly."
NHLBI recently released new clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, detection and treatment of high blood pressure. The guidelines feature altered blood pressure categories, including a new "prehypertension" level which covers about 22 percent of American adults, or about 45 million people.
St. Luke's Community Outreach department used the new guidelines in the following classifications and recommendations.
Lifestyle Change Recommendations
Stage 1 Hypertension
Stage 2 Hypertension
- Weight reduction
- Diet rich in vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products; low in fat/saturated fat
- Regular aerobic exercise
- Moderate alcohol intake
- Quit or reduce tobacco usage
If you are concerned about your blood pressure, you can get a free blood pressure screening at any St. Luke's Urgent Care Center.