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PRCIL offers information on dangers of high blood pressure

PALESTINE, June 21, 2014 – Hypertension is the term used to describe high blood pressure.  Blood pressure is a measurement of the force against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body.  Blood pressure readings are usually given as two numbers; for example, 120 over 80 (written as 120/80 mmHg).  One or both of these numbers can be too high.  The top number is called the systolic blood pressure and the bottom number is called the diastolic blood pressure.

Normal blood pressure is when your blood pressure is lower than 120/80 mmHg most of the time

High blood pressure (hypertension) is when your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or above most of the time

If your blood pressure numbers are 120/80 or higher, but below 140/90, it is called pre-hypertension

Many factors can affect blood pressure, including:

  • How much water and salt you have in your body
  • The condition of your kidneys, nervous system, or blood vessels
  • The levels of different body hormones

As you age, your blood vessels become stiffer.  When this happens, your blood pressure goes up.  High blood pressure increases your chance of having a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, and early death.  You have a higher risk of high blood pressure if you:

  • Are African American
  • Are obese
  • Are often stressed or anxious
  • Drink too much alcohol (more than one drink per day for women and more than two drinks per day for men)
  • Eat too much salt in your diet
  • Have a family history of high blood pressure
  • Have diabetes
  • Smoke

Most of the time, there are no symptoms.  For most patients, high blood pressure is found when they visit their health care provider or have it checked elsewhere.  Because there are no symptoms, people can develop heart disease and kidney problems without knowing they have high blood pressure.  If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is important that you have regular appointments with your doctor to monitor your blood pressure.  It is also very important that you follow your doctor’s recommendations to modify, treat, or control possible causes of high blood pressure.  Remember that most of the time high blood pressure can be controlled with medicine and lifestyle changes.

For more information, contact Palestine Resource Center for Independent Living (PRCIL) at 903-729-7505.

© 2017 Tomlinson-Leis Communications L.P.