May is Blood Pressure Month. Do you know your numbers and what they mean?
Hypertension (or high blood pressure) increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease. So it’s important to keep track of your numbers and make lifestyle changes if you need to improve it.
What do your blood pressure numbers mean?
Normal: < 120 mm Hg Systolic and < 80 mm Hg Diastolic
Elevated: 120-129 mm Hg Systolic and < 80 mm Hg Diastolic
Stage 1 Hypertension: 130-139 mm Hg Systolic or 80-89 mm Hg Diastolic
Stage 2 Hypertension: ≥ 140 mm Hg Systolic or ≥ 90 mm Hg Diastolic
Make sure you’re maintaining a healthy pressure by having it checked regularly. You can get it checked during your regular medical checkups, at the pharmacies and stores that have an automatic machine, with the help of a health coach or other professional that has a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer, or you can self-measure with a store-bought machine.
If you fall outside of the normal range, then you can make lifestyle changes for improvements and follow your doctors recommendations for improvement.
Lifestyle changes that will improve your blood pressure include:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Make healthy food choices and choose quality ingredients
- Manage stress
- Quit smoking
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation
For more information on blood pressure, check the American Heart Association.