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Reducing High Blood Pressure

The pressure of blood in the vessels is necessary to move blood throughout the body. Measuring blood pressure is a common procedure at the doctor's office or in pharmacies or other locations that have a blood pressure monitors.

The 'top' number is systolic pressure, or the pressure of the blood when the heart is contracting. The 'bottom' number is diastolic pressure, or the pressure of the blood when the heart is between contractions.

When blood pressure is too high, high blood pressure (or hypertension) is diagnosed. Over time, high blood pressure can damage vessel walls, organs, and tissues.

It is very common for blood pressure to increase as we age. In fact, almost 90% of all people over age 50 will develop high blood pressure at some point in their lifetime.

Diagnosing High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Healthy Blood Pressure = less than 120/80 mm Hg

Pre-Hypertension = systolic blood pressure of 120-139 and diastolic blood pressure of 80-89

High Blood Pressure/Hypertension = systolic blood pressure is 140 mm Hg or greater or when diastolic blood pressure is 90 mm Hg or greater

Lifestyle and Blood Pressure

Your lifestyle choices have a big impact on blood pressure. You can keep your blood pressure at a healthy level by maintaining a healthy weight, reducing salt intake with a low sodium diet, drinking alcohol in moderation, increasing potassium intake, and eating an overall healthy diet.

Prescription medicines do exist for reducing blood pressure for people who cannot reduce it through lifestyle intervention. These drugs include beta-blockers, diuretics, and ACE inhibitors.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

There are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure. Fortunately, it is easy to monitor your blood pressure. Your physician should test blood pressure at every visit, you can use self-administered blood pressure monitors at your local pharmacy.


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