May 14, 2014: May is "National High Blood Pressure Education Month.” This is the month to learn more about the dangers of hypertension, also called high blood pressure. It’s also a good time to find out how to keep your blood pressure under control. Hypertension is known by doctors and patients as the "silent killer." 1 of 3 us adults or 67 million people have high blood pressure. Each time your heart beats, blood is pumped out of the heart, into blood vessels and throughout the body. Your blood pressure is a measure of the force inside the arteries with each heartbeat. It’s monitored by two numbers: the top number, or systolic blood pressure, represents the pressure needed to push the blood out to the body. The bottom number, or the diastolic blood pressure, is the amount of pressure inside your arteries when your heart is at rest. Dr. George Thomas from the Cleveland Clinic says if your blood pressure is high you are at an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease. The most dangerous thing about hypertension, many don't know they have it until it's too late. If your blood pressure is less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic, then your blood pressure is normal. Between 120 and 139 systolic and 80-89 diastolic, you have pre-hypertension. Systolic of 140 or greater, or diastolic that is 90 or greater, is hypertension.
High blood pressure can also run in families. The risk for high blood pressure can increase even more when heredity is combined with unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking cigarettes and eating a poor diet, which is why, is it especially important to maintain a healthy lifestyle if you know your genes may be working against you. Doctors say you are on hypertension medication be sure to take them as directed. Men and women are about equally likely to develop high blood pressure over their lifetimes, but their risks vary at different ages. The condition affects more men than women before 64 years of age. For people aged 65 years or older, more women than men have high blood pressure. Dr. Thomas says exercise, a diet low in sodium, and an ideal body weight will help you to keep your blood pressure under control.
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