High blood pressure harms your health over time. That’s why managing your blood pressure, including understanding high vs. normal numbers and what they mean, is an important part of achieving better health.

The good news is that in the early stages, lifestyle and diet changes are often enough to control high blood pressure and prevent chronic health problems. When that’s not enough, your healthcare provider works with you to create an individualized treatment plan. Take a few moments to learn more about what constitutes high blood pressure, and what it means for your health.

What does blood pressure tell you?
The heart excels at performing under duress. It continually circulates blood through your blood vessels, supplying oxygen to every part of your body. Blood pressure is the force against the artery walls when your heart pumps, and also when the heart is at rest. High blood pressure indicates that your heart is working too hard, and that the force of the blood flowing through your vessels is too strong. This increased pressure can cause your arteries to thicken or harden, as well as your blood vessels to weaken, leading to serious health problems.

What is high blood pressure?
When your blood pressure is consistently high, you have high blood pressure, also called hypertension. Your systolic pressure, which is the top number on your reading, measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart beats. Your diastolic pressure, or the bottom number on your reading, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest.

A normal blood pressure is below 120/80. While blood pressure fluctuates daily, depending on things like your physical activity and psychological state, the goal is to maintain an average blood pressure under 120/80. We diagnose high blood pressure when it remains high for three or more separate readings.

Why are regular blood pressure checks important?
High blood pressure is often referred to as a “silent killer” because it doesn’t cause obvious symptoms. The only way to detect it is to have your blood pressure checked. Having high blood pressure quadruples your risk of dying from a stroke and triples your risk of dying from heart disease.  Even if you feel healthy, it’s important to routinely check your blood pressure. As with most chronic diseases, early detection and intervention of high blood pressure makes it easier to control, so you can prevent further damage to your body. Combating high blood pressure means working with a your healthcare provider to adopt habits that promote lower blood pressure. Slashing sodium intake, boosting potassium intake, exercising, and adopting a heart-healthy diet are proven strategies for managing blood pressure.

At Care Eleven Clinics, we can help you prevent disease before it starts. With regular blood pressure checks, we can alert you to potential problems before they become chronic, so you can make the necessary changes to get things back on the right track. Your health and wellness are our top priority. Together we can help you stay healthy and thrive throughout all phases of life. If you’re concerned about your blood pressure, stop in to see us for a blood pressure check.