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What is High Blood Pressure?

PATIENT INFORMATION DENVER HEALTH What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is also called hypertension. Blood pressure measures the force that the blood puts on the inside of your blood vessels. When you have high blood pressure, the inside of your blood vessels are more narrow than normal. © The smaller the inside of your blood vessels, the harder your heart has to work and the higher the blood pressure becomes. A normal blood pressure is 120/80. High blood pressure is more than 140/90. If you do not take care of the high blood pressure you can damage body organs or even die.

What causes high blood pressure?
Many times the cause is unknown. High blood pressure can be inherited (passed down from your parents). Sometimes it is caused by stress, diabetes, alcoholism,being overweight or smoking. High blood pressure has been called the “silent killer” because most people do not have any symptoms. By the time symptoms start, the blood pressure has been high for a long time. A common sign is headache or numbness or weakness in the arms or legs.

How can high blood pressure be treated?
• If you smoke-quit smoking. Call the Colorado QuitLine (1-800-784-8669) for help to stop smoking. • If you are overweight - lose weight. Talk with your care provider about starting an exercise program. Exercise can help lower your blood pressure and help you lose weight. • Eat a balanced diet of foods like whole grain breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, low fat milk products, lean meats, poultry, fish, dried peas, beans, and lentils. Cut down the amount of salt you eat. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. • Limit foods and drinks that have caffeine in them (such as coffee, strong teas, chocolate, colas and some flavored sodas) • Talk with your care provider about drinking alcohol such as beer, wine or vodka • If your doctor gives you medicine, take the medicine as written on the bottle • Keep taking your medicine even after your blood pressure is lowered and you feel better • Talk with your care provider before you take any over-the-counter medicines (such as herbs, vitamins, aspirin or Tylenol®) • Keep your health care appointments

are important symptoms? Serious symptoms (get medical help Call 911) Blurred vision, confusion, chest pain, numbness in your arms and legs.

What

Who do I call if I have questions or problems?
If you have questions call your clinic at (303) __________________. You can also call the Denver Health NurseLine at (303) 739-1211 any time day or night.
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Special instructions:
Blood Pressure Readings Date Time Systolic (higher number) Diastolic (lower number) Comments

E20-478 Doc 1 of 1 (3/09) DH

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