High blood pressure: What it is, and what you can do about it

High blood pressure — also called hypertension — is a serious condition that can cause some serious risks to your overall health. In fact, high blood pressure is ominously called “the silent killer” because one in six people don’t even realize they have it. This is because it often has no obvious symptoms.

High blood pressure usually develops over time. Having high blood pressure puts you at greater risk for:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Vision loss

Are you at risk?

It’s important to be aware of the risk factors of developing high blood pressure. Some of these include:

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Being overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Not exercising

While there is no cure for high blood pressure, there are steps you can take to manage it and possibly improve it:

  • Eat a healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, fish and poultry, nuts).
  • Be physically active.
  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages.
  • Lower your sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Take any medications your doctor prescribes for you (taking the steps listed above may make these medicines more effective).

Get healthy, stay healthy.

It’s important to keep track of your blood pressure. Have regular checkups with your doctor. If you monitor your blood pressure at home, write down your readings and share them with your doctor.

Take care of yourself. Manage your blood pressure for a healthier you.