Check your Blood Pressure Month


Check your Blood Pressure for Heart MonthFebruary is American Heart Month, and even if you don't have heart disease, it's time to learn whether you're at risk, and what you can do about it. High blood pressure is a leading cause of death in Americans and one of the most important things to address for a healthy heart. Yet only about half of those who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure have it under control.

What is blood pressure?

Think of the blood in your heart like water in a hose: the tinier the hose, the more work or "pressure" it takes for the liquid to flow through. This is why a high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) can indicate some very serious heart problems, like a narrowing of the arteries due to heart disease or cholesterol. Basically, the harder your heart is working (for a variety of reasons), the higher your blood pressure.

What do the numbers mean?

Your blood pressure may be considered low, normal, elevated or high., systolic blood pressure (the first number) indicates how much pressure your blood produces against the artery walls when your heart beats; diastolic blood pressure (the second number) indicates how much pressure your blood produces when it's at rest, or between heart beats. According to the American Heart Association, a reading of 120/80 or lower is considered normal.

What causes high blood pressure?

There are many factors that contribute to high blood pressure: some you can't control (like family history, age and gender) but many that you can do something about. These include stress, obesity, smoking, lack of exercise and a high fat diet. Sometimes, high blood pressure can be the byproduct of another health condition or a side effect of certain medications, like birth control pills.

What can I do about high blood pressure?

If you're at high risk, it's more important than ever that you do what you can to combat high blood pressure. Following a heart healthy, low-sodium diet, getting regular physical activity and managing stress are all things you can do. If you already have elevated or high blood pressure, your doctor may also prescribe medication or suggest specific lifestyle changes.

Experts recommend that everyone over the age of three get a blood pressure check at least once a year. Visit with your doctor to find out your risk, measure your blood pressure, and make a plan to keep your heart healthy.

For any health insurance questions, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.

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