Heart Your Heart

Blood Pressure

A common myth is that high blood pressure is more prevalent in men. The truth is, nearly half of all adults with high blood pressure are women.

It's important to know your blood pressure because high blood pressure can be deadly if not treated correctly.  Readings can vary depending on when and where you take your blood pressure. The type of monitor used can also affect your readings. If your blood pressure is consistently over 140/90, please talk to your doctor immediately.

Blood Pressure Ranges and What They Mean

Less than 120/80             Optimal

120-139/80-89                 Prehypertension (increased risk for high blood pressure)

140/90 or higher               High Blood Pressure

How Often Should I Check My Blood Pressure?

If your blood pressure is at an optimal level and you are 20+ years old, have your blood pressure checked every 1-2 years. If your blood pressure is 140/90, you should check it more frequently or as directed by your doctor.

Factors Affecting Your Blood Pressure

While high blood pressure isn't directly related to gender, certain woman's issues can increase your risk. There are risks around pregnancy and blood pressure. Beginning at age 65, after the onset of menopause, women are more likely to have high blood pressure than men. Visit the American Heart Association's website for more information and frequently asked questions about high blood pressure and the factors listed above.

By adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, you can reduce high blood pressure, prevent or delay the development of high blood pressure, enhance the effectiveness of blood pressure medications, and lower your risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

Ways You Can Control Your Blood Pressure

According to the American Heart Association, adopting healthy habits is critical to prevent and manage high blood pressure. Eight main ways you can control your blood pressure are:

1. Eat a better diet, which may include reducing salt.

2. Enjoy regular physical activity.

3. Maintain a healthy weight.​

4. Manage stress.

5. Avoid tobacco smoke.

6. Understand hot tub safety.

7. Comply with medication prescriptions.

8. If you drink, limit alcohol.

Think of these changes as a prescription for better heart health, and make every effort to comply with them. Whether you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or are concerned because you have some of the risk factors for the disease, understand this: while there is no cure, high blood pressure is manageable.