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Well and Good: Know Your Numbers

Hypertension, High Blood Pressure: It’s called the silent killer for good reason. For while hypertension is the most prevalent risk factor for premature death worldwide, and 1 out of 4 Americans has this condition, more than 50% of the hypertensive population are unaware of their condition.  It is because they have no noticeable symptoms.

Hypertension is rarely accompanied by any symptoms: Its identification is usually through screening, or when seeking healthcare for an unrelated problem. While some people with high blood pressure report headaches, as well as lightheadedness, vertigo, tinnitus (buzzing or hissing in the ears), altered vision or fainting episodes, most feel “normal”.

What do those numbers mean? Blood pressure involves two measurements, systolic and diastolic, which depend on whether the heart muscle is contracting (systole) or relaxed between beats (diastole).  Normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 100-140mmHg systolic (top reading) and 60-90mmHg diastolic (bottom reading).  High blood pressure is said to be present if it is persistently at or above 140/90 mmHg.

What Is the Treatment for High Blood Pressure? High blood pressure treatment usually involves making lifestyle changes and, if necessary, drug therapy.  Lifestyle changes for high blood pressure include:  Losing weight, quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet (such as the DASH diet), regular aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking), and limiting alcohol intake.

Get Screened: Hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke, myocardial infarction , heart failure, aneurysms of the arteries (e.g. aortic aneurysm), peripheral artery disease and is a cause of chronic kidney disease.  Even moderate elevation of arterial blood pressure is associated with a shortened life expectancy.

On the menu of health screenings offered at FRESH, our pharmacists provide free blood pressure testing during all open hours.