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High Blood Pressure: How High is Too High? By Katheryn Schafer, Student Pharmacist!

Everyone needs a blood pressure. However, high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can be dangerous. Over 76 million US adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, but many more may be at risk and not even know it. Many people with high blood pressure feel completely fine and have no symptoms at all. But just because a person cannot feel high blood pressure does not mean it is harmless.

What is considered normal blood pressure? The American Heart Association (AHA) considers normal blood pressure to be a reading of less that 120 for your systolic pressure (the top number on your blood pressure monitor) and less than 80 for your diastolic pressure (the bottom number). High blood pressure would be a systolic pressure over 140 and a diastolic pressure over 90. To see a chart that shows high and normal blood pressure numbers, go HERE.

High blood pressure can lead to damaged blood vessels. Just like high water pressure can burst pipes in a house, high blood pressure can cause tears in blood vessels, which can lead to stroke and other serious health problems.

High blood pressure can be prevented. Living a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to reduce your risk for developing high blood pressure.

Here are ways you can reduce your risk:

  • Decrease the amount of salt in your diet: a high salt diet causes your body to retain water, which increases your blood pressure and can overwork your heart.
  • Exercise: physical activity can help to strengthen your heart, which will help your body maintain a healthy blood pressure.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke: smoking raises blood pressure and causes fatty build up in arteries, which can also contribute to high blood pressure.

For more resources on high blood pressure, check out these websites and be sure to talk to your pharmacist!





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